Alexa Grasso Protects Her Title in Wild Split Draw With Shevchenko
Opportunities to capture a championship in the UFC shouldn’t be taken lightly. Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko fought ferociously at the inaugural Noche UFC event in Las Vegas Saturday night to try and capture the flyweight championship. The fight featured a lot of wild twists and turns, including a dramatic last two minutes that saw a trailing Grasso nearly submit Shevchenko.
While the pro-Mexican crowd was likely disappointed that Grasso retained via a split-draw decision on the scorecards, the group was treated to an all-action fight. That was a common theme on Saturday night, where many Hispanic fighters helped make the night a festive evening for fight fans on Mexican Independence Day.
Reviewing the Action
Shevchenko Repeats Mistake
If Shevchenko has any regrets about her series with Alexa Grasso, they should be about taking unnecessary risks late in fights. During the pair’s first fight, Shevchenko attempted a risky spinning attack in the fourth round, which Grasso capitalized on by submitting her with a face crank. Shevchenko likely made a similar error in the rematch.
Early in the fifth round, Shevchenko was effective with her jab for the first three minutes. Then Shevchenko attempted to throw Alexa Grasso. Grasso ended up in the top position and nearly secured a rear-naked choke. Grasso kept up with the ground and pound and rode out the round.
Despite controlling many rounds with her four takedowns, Shevchenko would see a disappointing result on the scorecards. Mike Bell scored the fight a draw, Sal D’amato scored it for Shevchenko 48-47, and Junichiro Kamijo scored it 48-47 for Alexa Grasso. It is unknown where the division will go from here. A rematch makes sense, but the UFC may want to give another contender a shot.
Teenager Shows Off His Striking
Raúl Rosas Jr., an 18-year-old fighter from Mexico, was eager to bounce back from his first loss in the promotion last April. Fighting against fellow prospect Terrence Mitchell, Rosas put his foot on the gas from the outset. Rosas clipped Mitchell with a hook early in the first round. Rosas then hopped on top of Mitchell and finished the fight with ground and pound.
Maddalena Ekes Out Decision Victory
Australian welterweight Jack Della Maddalena will want to return to his dominant ways sooner rather than later. For the second straight fight, Della Maddalena earned a split decision victory against an opponent that pushed the pace. Kevin Holland, an unorthodox fighter, outlanded Della Maddalena 127-105.
Della Maddalena was the more accurate puncher, connecting on 55 percent of his significant strikes thrown. He also prevented Holland from landing a takedown. Della Maddalena has now won six straight fights.
Chairez, Lacerda Ends in Controversy
It was a rough night at the office for Nevada State Athletic Commission referee Chris Tognoni. During the first round of a flyweight bout between Edgar Chairez and Daniel Lacerda, Chairez attempted to lock up a standing anaconda choke on Lacerda along the cage. Chairez was in a dominant position trying to find the choke and had his back to Tognoni, who couldn’t see Lacerda’s face.
Tognoni lifted Lacerda’s arm to ensure he was still conscious. Lacerda’s arm then appeared to go limp, and Tognoni waved off the fight. The commentary team and Lacerda both immediately protested the stoppage. After a video review, it was determined that Lacerda hadn’t gone unconscious. The fight was ruled a no contest.
It was an essential reversal for Lacerda, who has lost four straight fights in the UFC. Another loss may have seen him get cut from the roster.
Cortez Overcomes Hair Pulling, Long Layoff
Flyweight Tracy Cortez returned after a 17-month layoff and earned what had to be a satisfying unanimous decision over Jasmine Jasudavicius. During Cortez’s layoff, she had to withdraw from a scheduled December 2022 fight with Amanda Ribas. She also went through a public breakup with fellow UFC fighter Brian Ortega.
During Cortez’s fight with Jasudavicius, she was able to grab the win thanks to heavy striking and being able to keep up with Jasudavicius’s serious pace. Late in the fight, Jasudavicius landed a combination after pulling one of Cortez’s braids during the fight. The two started arguing in the octagon about whether it was illegal before resuming the bout. Cortez is now 6-0 on the UFC main roster and 11-1 in her career.
Kopylov Dominant in Win
Neither Roman Kopylov nor Josh Fremd had an entire training camp to prepare for their middleweight bout. The UFC didn’t have them in mind for this card at all. Kopylov stepped in for an injured Chris Curtis to fight Anthony Hernandez. Hernandez was then forced to withdraw as well, so Fremd stepped in.
Kopylov proved to be the more impactful striker. He dropped Fremd with a body shot late in the second round to secure the knockout. Kopylov improved to 12-2 in his career and has won four consecutive fights by knockout.
I Waited Six Years for This?
Alex Reyes returned to the UFC after a six-year absence to take on Charlie Campbell. Unfortunately for Reyes, his fight with Campbell went much like his last fight in the UFC, a first-round knockout loss to Mike Perry on Sept. 16, 2017. Campbell was aggressive with his striking and knocked out Reyes at the 3:38 mark of the first round.
Zellhuber Submission Highlights Best of Rest
Mexican fighter Daniel Zellhuber won his lightweight fight by second-round submission over Christos Giagos by anaconda choke. Zellhuber is now 14-1 in his career and was able to take advantage of his long arms to get in position to finish the fight. Here’s a look at the other results from the card.
- Featherweight: Kyle Nelson won by a decision over Fernando Padilla.
- Women’s strawweight: Lupita Godinez submitted Elise Reed, 3:37 of Round 2.
- Women’s strawweight: Josefine Lindgren Knutsson won by a decision over Marnic Mann.