UFC 285: Alexa Grasso defeated Valentina Shevchenko, winning the UFC women's flyweight championship.
Alexa Grasso defeated Valentina Shevchenko via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2 – 4:34 at UFC 285 on Saturday, March 4, 2023, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
"Can you punch me because I feel like I'm dreaming. I've dreamt of this moment so many times... I trained it every single day because I knew she did spinning things. Yeah, I trained it because I knew she hit hard...I trained it so hard," said Grasso in the octagon after the victory.
"This is kind of like what happens in mixed martial arts... Congratulations to Alexa. If not for the spinning kick, the result would be different... I want my title back... I definitely want an immediate rematch," said Shevchenko.
UFC 285: Shevchenko vs. Santos: Round-by-round recap
The women touched gloves to get the first round started. Shevchenko landed a spinning back fist and then a leg kick. The two traded leg kicks. Grasso landed a right hand as the two traded in the middle of the Octagon. Grasso landed another right hand but Shevchenko answered with a straight right jab. Grasso tagged Shevchenko with a two-punch combination that briefly stunned Shevchenko.
Grasso took Shevchenko down twice in the closing seconds of the round.
Shevchenko opened the second round with a takedown. The action stalled with Shevchenko stuck in Grasso's guard. Shevchenko eventually moved into side control. Grasso was eventually able to use her feet to kick off the wall and get back to her feet. Shevchenko landed a couple of jabs and made Grasso miss repeatedly. Shevchenko landed another takedown in the final minute of the round, maintaining the top position until the horn.
Shevchenko opened the third round with a jab but Grasso answered right back with a sharp counter. Grasso came in and landed a combination but Shevchenko replied with a powerful trio of punches. Shevchenko appeared to stun Grasso but missed with a head kick as Grasso was able to move out of danger. Shevchenko landed a takedown with just under three minutes remaining. Grasso was able to defend in full guard.
The crowd booed as referee Jason Herzog made the questionable decision to stand the fighters up. Shevchenko scored another takedown and took the back but Grasso was able to scramble and attempted a choke, running out of time as the horn ended the round.
The two women opened the fourth round by trading punches. Grasso stuffed Shevchenko's takedown attempt. Grasso decided to go for a takedown but Shevchenko was easily able to get up against the fence and stop the attempt. The two women engaged in a clinch until Shevchenko landed a knee to the body to break free. The women continued to trade punches. Shevchenko attempted a spinning back kick but Grasso countered and took Shevchenko's back and went for a submission. Grasso went between a neck crank and a rear-naked choke. Shevchenko's face continued to turn a deeper shade of red. Unable to escape, Shevchenko was forced to tap out.
After starting her UFC career 3-3 after strawweight, Grasso decided to move up to flyweight. The decision proved to be fruitful, as Grasso won four straight fights to earn a title fight. With her shocking upset victory on Saturday, Grasso becomes the third UFC women's flyweight champion.
Shevchenko entered UFC 285 on a nine-fight winning streak and seven straight title defenses. The seven title defenses were the most consecutive title defenses of any woman in UFC history. Much like when Amanda Nunes lost her bantamweight title to Julianna Pena, expect Shevchenko to get a rematch with Grasso.