In the aftermath of the highly anticipated rematch between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko at Noche UFC, the spotlight is on the controversial split draw decision that left fans and pundits alike scratching their heads. Despite the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the outcome, Grasso remains confident in her performance and speaks out about the judges’ decision.
Addressing the media at the post-fight press conference, Grasso expressed her satisfaction with her showing in the Octagon. “I’m happy with my performance. For me, it was 3-2 — the second, fourth, and fifth were for me — but I’m not the judge,” she stated, reflecting on the closely contested bout.
In the eyes of the judges, the fight resulted in a split draw, with Sal D’Amato scoring it 48-47 in favor of Shevchenko, Junichiro Kamijo giving the nod to Grasso with a 48-47 score, and Mike Bell rendering a 47-47 scorecard. Notably, Bell awarded Grasso a perplexing 10-8 in Round 5. The media scores on MMA Decisions mirrored the closeness of the contest, tallying 12-11 in Grasso’s favor.
Despite the controversy, the UFC belt remains firmly in Grasso’s possession. However, the aftermath has left the UFC officials facing a difficult decision regarding the next move. Top contenders Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot are already vying for a title shot, and Grasso acknowledges the challenge ahead for the promotion.
“It’s an interesting question,” Grasso remarked. “I don’t like to stop the division. There’s a lot of girls fighting to have this opportunity like I did, so I don’t like to stop it. It all depends on the UFC. If they want a trilogy, let’s do this. If not, I would like to give an opportunity to another girl. But whatever the UFC says.”
Pressed for her preference between a Shevchenko trilogy or a new opponent, Grasso remained noncommittal, stating, “I just fought, I don’t want to fight right now. Whatever the UFC says. I’m always up for whatever challenge they put in front of me.”
The controversial decision somewhat overshadowed what was otherwise a breathtaking display of skill and heart between two elite fighters. Grasso and Shevchenko engaged in a back-and-forth battle, exchanging heavy blows and coming close to finishing each other with submission attempts.
Grasso’s knockdown of Shevchenko in the second round was a pivotal moment, prompting the champion to rely on her wrestling to stay in the fight. Grasso, however, anticipated this shift in strategy, saying, “When you have a good punch, of course, you have to change your strategy, and I knew that she changed [her strategy after the knockdown].”
The climax of the fight saw Grasso attempting a rear-naked choke in the final round, reminiscent of her previous submission win over Shevchenko. Despite the dramatic ending, Grasso acknowledged the difficulty of repeating such a feat against a resilient opponent.
“I had flashbacks,” Grasso admitted. “But like I said, we are super competitive. She did her job, and it was hard to repeat it again. The plan was to finish the fight, but I showed my power. I’ve been showing, every single fight, my evolution, everything I’ve been working on, and I’m just happy with everything I did in that fight.”
As the UFC community reflects on the controversial draw, Grasso remains steadfast, leaving the door open for whatever challenge the promotion decides to present next in her promising career.