Valentina Shevchenko was aiming to secure her eighth straight defense of the women’s flyweight title against challenger Alexa Grasso in the co-main event of UFC 285.
Meanwhile, Grasso was hoping to become the third Mexican UFC champion within the last few months. Both had their sights set on the prize, making it an exciting match for fans and pundits alike.
Alexa Grasso worked her way up the ranks through Invicta, and after starting her UFC career at strawweight, she moved up to 125lbs, where she found considerable success. Going into the event, she was seen as a long-shot against the experienced Shevchenko, who had looked mortal in her previous outing against Taila Santos but still came out with the win.
In the opening round, Shevchenko looked loose, and the crowd was firmly behind her, with a “Valentina” chant breaking out at the T-Mobile Arena. Grasso worked her way in with short combos and leg kicks, catching the champ with a right hand in the first half of the round. Shevchenko, however, wasn’t fazed and answered by attacking Grasso’s lead leg.
Shevchenko then fired a spinning back fist, followed by a kick, but Grasso managed to land a brief takedown. Shevchenko did the same, but Grasso came close to taking her back.
In the second round, Shevchenko landed an early takedown, and despite Grasso’s efforts to buck her off, she was unable to do so.
Shevchenko moved to side control, briefly flirted with a crucifix, and Grasso scrambled back to the fence to wall-walk her way up. The two worked at range, with Shevchenko landing a final takedown to secure the round.
In the third round, Shevchenko turned up the heat a little, stinging Grasso with a left hand. Grasso looked for a takedown, but it was unsuccessful. Shevchenko then timed a level change perfectly and powered into a double-leg takedown.
Shevchenko had plenty of time to work on top, and despite staying busy, the ref stood them up in the final minute of the round. Shevchenko took Grasso right back down and ate an illegal kick for her efforts, which was luckily just glancing. She took the back, and although Grasso tried to close out the round with a weak guillotine attempt, she couldn’t get the job done.
At the beginning of the fourth round, Shevchenko had a shot that was stuffed by Grasso. The rest of the round turned into a bit of a chess match with single strikes, and not much action. Shevchenko had a badly-timed level change stuffed, and almost paid for it.
What she did pay for, however, was a weak spinning attack that allowed Grasso to take her back. Grasso, known for her boxing, got hooks in and got under the chin, securing a deep choke. Although Shevchenko was unrelenting as long as she could, there was too much time left in the round, and she tapped out.
ALEXA GRASSO HAS SUBMITTED VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO!!
WE HAVE A NEW FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION 👑🇲🇽 #UFC285 pic.twitter.com/t4HMH5vXnw
— UFC (@ufc) March 5, 2023
With the win, Grasso became the third Mexican to win gold in the UFC this year, following Brandon Moreno and Yair Rodriguez. Shevchenko, a dominant force since arriving at 125lbs, may take some time off but will undoubtedly be looking to reclaim her title soon enough.
Valentina Shevchenko x Alexa Grasso
Alexa foi muito ligeira, aproveitou o erro da Valentina (coisa rara) e fez ela pagar por isso. Muito mais mérito da Grasso!#UFCBR #UFC285 pic.twitter.com/P0MfcHwFCU
— UVM! 🥊lojauvm.com.br🥊 (@uhhvaimorrer) March 5, 2023
ALEXA GRASSO PULLS OFF THE UPET! GRASSO SUBMITS VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO FOR THE UFC FLYWEIGHT TITLE! #UFC285 pic.twitter.com/kA9s3ACLzF
— The MMA Outsiders (@MMAOutsidersETB) March 5, 2023
Personne ne la pensait capable de le faire 🔥 @AlexaGrasso s'impose par soumission au 4ème round
📺 Regardez l’#UFC285 en direct sur @RMCSport 2 pic.twitter.com/ZzivUDamgV
— UFC France (@UFCFRA) March 5, 2023
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.