UFC’s Gracie goes from unusual draw to first title defense…and then “I won” on each other

Alexa Grasso (30, Mexico), the only Mexican UFC champion, defended her championship belt on Mexico’s Independence Day.

Grasso defended her women’s flyweight (56.7 kg) title against Valentina Shevchenko (35, Kyrgyzstan/Peru) in a split draw (48-47, 47-47, 47-48) in the main event of “Noche UFC: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2” at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on Sunday.

As the scores show, it was a close match. Challenger Shevchenko utilized his jab and takedowns to score points, while champion Grasso looked to take rounds with impactful strikes, including knockdowns.

The desperate challenger took the early lead. Shevchenko won a first-round jabbing battle at distance, and when Grasso tried to close the distance and exchange strikes, Shevchenko took him to the ground with a double-leg takedown.

In the second round, Grasso scored a knockdown to even the score. During an exchange of strikes, Grasso landed a right straight punch that dropped Shevchenko. Shevchenko got back to his feet, but Grasso rained down knees and looked for the finish. Shevchenko was able to take Grasso down with wrestling and then take control.

Round three saw Shevchenko get a takedown and take ground control. In the fourth round, Grasso fought back. He capitalized on a failed takedown attempt by Shevchenko, unleashed a flurry of punches, and scored a reversed takedown.

In the fateful fifth round, the challenger seemed to have the upper hand. Shevchenko kept hitting Grasso in the face with jabs, and Grasso’s face was covered in blood. But when Shevchenko dug underhooks and fell for a takedown, Grasso took over the back position like a lightning bolt. Grasso unleashed a barrage of ground-and-pound attacks and made a big impact with a rear-naked choke submission.

In the end, the judges ruled the fight a draw. Grasso, who retained his title, agreed with the decision, saying, “I did a lot of damage, my punches were stronger. I won,” he said, disagreeing with the decision. On the possibility of a third round, he said, “I don’t know. I don’t know, I’ll have to talk to my coach, my manager,” he said.

Shevchenko also disagreed with the decision: “Of course I thought I won. But I think the judges felt a little bit of pressure because it was a Mexican Independence Day fight. Grasso is a Mexican fighter,” he complained. “I did enough to win the fight. If it was a fair fight, I would have won.”안전놀이터

The women’s flyweight division currently has two potential title challengers. Manon Fioreau (33, France) and Erin Blanchfield (24, USA), who are tied for second in the rankings with a nine-fight win streak (six in the UFC) and 11-fight win streak (six in the UFC). It will be interesting to see if Grasso and Shevchenko make it to a third round, or if another fighter will be given a chance.

“Noche UFC” was a special event organized by the mixed martial arts (MMA) organization UFC to celebrate Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16, local time) and featured a number of fighters of Mexican descent, including flyweight champion Grasso.

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