Originally published at UFC Fight Night Results: Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko fight to a draw
UFC Fight Night Results: Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko fight to a draw, Grasso retains title
On Saturday night, the UFC held a Fight Night event from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a rematch for the UFC Flyweight Championship, as newly crowned champion, Alexa Grasso, looked to defend her championship against the woman she beat for the title earlier this year, Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko was a massive favorite leading into her title defense against Grasso earlier and was largely expected to successfully defend her title for an eighth time, but Grasso upset the oddsmakers, out-striking Shevchenko before submitting her in the fight’s fourth round. Shevchenko was the betting favorite heading into this fight as well, but by a much narrower margin, a second win over Shevchenko would certainly cement Grasso’s status as the world’s top fighter at flyweight. In the co-main event, Kevin Holland attempted to defend his spot in the welterweight rankings against Jack Della Maddalena, who had won fifteen consecutive fights going into this one.
Jon Anik provided commentary for this card alongside Dominick Cruz and Daniel Cormier. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Charlie Campbell, Roman Kopylov, Loopy Godinez, Daniel Zellhuber, and Raul Rosas Jr. The announced attendance for the card was 18,766, with a gate of $2,265,537.16.
- Josefine Knutsson def. Marnic Mann by unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25, 30-27)
- Charlie Campbell def. Alex Reyes by TKO at 3:38 of Round 1
- Tracy Cortez def. Jasmine Jasudavicius by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Edgar Chairez vs. Daniel Lacerda resulted in a no-contest due to a referee error at 3:47 of Round 1
- Roman Kopylov def. Josh Fremd by TKO at 4:44 of Round 2
- Loopy Godinez def. Elise Reed by rear naked choke at 3:38 of Round 2
- Kyle Nelson def. Fernando Padilla by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Daniel Zellhuber def. Christos Giagos by anaconda choke at 3:26 of Round 2
- Raul Rosas Jr. def. Terrence Mitchell by TKO at 0:54 of Round 1
- Jack Della Maddalena def. Kevin Holland by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko resulted in a split draw (48-47, 47-47, 47-48). Alexa Grasso retains the UFC Flyweight Championship.
JOSEFINE KNUTSSON (6-0, 111.5) VS MARNIC MANN (6-1, 115) – STRAWWEIGHT
Knutsson quickly dragged Mann to the ground, where she landed a strong knee to the body as Mann attempted to hold onto a single leg. Mann was able to return to her feet but took considerable damage on her way up, and Knutsson brought the fight right back to the ground just moments later. Knutsson worked from half guard for a considerable portion of the round, but did not do a significant amount of damage from the position, nor did she threaten any submissions. 10-9 Knutsson.
Mann unsuccessfully shot for a takedown to start the second round. Knutsson pressured forward, landing heavy body shots and short combinations to the head, looking to overwhelm Mann, who was several steps behind Knutsson on the feet. A straight right hand from Knutsson seemed to stun Mann, but if she was hurt, she recovered quickly and urged Knutsson to continue the battle on the feet. Knutsson opted to take the fight back to the ground, where she finished the round in top position. 20-18 Knutsson.
Knutsson continued to pour it on in the third round, tagging Mann with damaging right hands as she worked her way into the clinch. Knutsson took Mann down with three and a half minutes to work, and she proceeded to dominate the action from top position once more, doing significant damage with her ground and pound strikes. She maintained top position until time expired in the fight, easily winning this round on the scorecards. 30-27 Knutsson.
WINNER: Josefine Knutsson by unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25, 30-27)
Knutsson was a massive favorite going into this bout, and she dominated this fight as expected. On the feet, Knutsson was clearly the stronger striker, overwhelming Mann with her variety of damaging strikes to the head and body, and it soon became apparent that Knutsson was the better grappler as well, as she took Mann down at will, controlling the vast majority of the bout from top position on the ground. It was a dominant performance from Knutsson, and while she may draw criticism for not securing a finish, a 30-24 scorecard is impressive in its own right, and this was certainly a strong UFC debut for Knutsson.
ALEX REYES (13-3, 155.5) VS CHARLIE CAMPBELL (7-2, 155) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Roughly two minutes into the fight, Campbell caught Reyes with a number of impactful counters as Reyes looked to press forward, rocking him. Campbell went on the attack as he looked to finish the fight, dropping Reyes momentarily against the cage, but Reyes managed to recover, and he did his best to counter as Campbell pressed forward with heavy right hands. Eventually, a strong right hand dropped Reyes hard, and this time, Campbell followed Reyes to the ground, quickly ending the fight with ground-and-pound strikes.
WINNER: Charlie Campbell by TKO at 3:38 of Round 1
Reyes last fought in September of 2017, where he suffered a knockout loss to Mike Perry just over a minute into the first round. It was a rough UFC debut for Reyes, but his luck would only worsen over the years, as a number of serious injuries kept him out of action for six years. Just returning to the octagon here after such a lengthy absence was an impressive accomplishment for Reyes, but there are very few fairytale endings in MMA, and he was outmatched by Campbell here, who hurt Reyes repeatedly on the feet before securing the first-round knockout. It was an impressive finish for Cambell in his UFC debut, and he followed up on his performance with a memorable post-fight interview, where he caught Daniel Cormier with a Dwayne Johnson-styled “it doesn’t matter what you think” line, which Cormier graciously let him get away with.
TRACY CORTEZ (10-1, 126) VS JASMINE JASUDAVICIUS (9-2, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Both fighters landed hard right hands inside the fight’s opening minute. It did not take long for the fighters to start chaining their strikes together, with both women landing solid combinations as the round progressed. Cortez appeared to be doing more damage with her strikes and seemed to have a slight speed advantage, although the right hands from Jasudavicius were finding a home as well. As the round wore on, I thought that Cortez was beginning to pull ahead noticeably on the feet, and Cortez defended a late takedown attempt from Jasudavicius, keeping the fight standings until the round’s conclusion. 10-9 Cortez.
Cortez caught Jasudavicius with a solid pair of hooks as Jasudavicius pressed forward a minute into the second round. Jasudavicius was throwing more kicks in the second round, mixing them into her combinations effectively, and this variety of offense eventually allowed Jasudavicius to secure a takedown, taking top position with a considerable amount of time left to work in the round. Cortez escaped to her feet with a minute remaining in the round but was unable to land anything of significance before time expired. 19-19.
Jasudavicius wasted little time in pursuing another takedown in the fight’s final round, but Cortez successfully defended the attempt, keeping the fight on the feet. Cortez landed a hard right hand, but Jasudavicius was relentless with her forward pressure, giving Cortez no room to breathe. Despite this, I thought that Cortez was doing a good job of catching Jasudavicius on here way in, getting the better of their striking exchanges while defending Jasudavicius’s attempts to take the fight to the ground. Jasudavicius flurried forward and landed a solid combination of her own, catching Cortez with a head kick before the fighters started jawing at each other, resetting in the middle of the cage. The fighters traded hands throughout the final minute o the bout, and the fight ultimately went the distance. 29-28 Cortez.
WINNER: Tracy Cortez by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Cortez got the better of Jasudavicius on the feet throughout the fight’s opening minutes, out-landing Jasudavicius while packing a bit more power into each of her punches. As the fight progressed, Jasudavicius began to find more success with her own striking, which allowed Jasudavicius to mix in her wrestling to great effect, controlling a significant amount of the second round from dominant position. This all led to a very close final round, where I thought Cortez largely did the better work, although the biggest moment may have very well belonged to Jasudavicius, who caught Cortez with a head kick late in the round. It was a close fight, but I did think Cortez did enough to earn the win, although I disagreed with two judges who scored the second round in her favor. Cortez improved to 5-0 in the UFC as a result of this win.
EDGAR CHAIREZ (10-5, 126) VS DANIEL LACERDA (11-5, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Chairez opened up with a number of heavy leg kicks. The fighters exchanged kicks to the body, before Lacerda changed levels, taking the fight to the ground. Chairez managed to escape to his feet without taking much damage, and as Lacerda attempted to take the fight back to the ground, Chairez locked in a standing anaconda choke. While the fighters were still standing, Chairez’s arm fell down momentarily, and referee Chris Tognoni immediately stepped in to stop the fight. Lacerda appeared to be completely conscious when the fighters were separated and did not submit, resulting in quite the controversial finish.
Result: No contest due to referee error at 3:47 of Round 1
Upon reviewing the finish, Chris Tognoni admitted that he called the fight prematurely, apologized to both fighters and overturned his previous decision. This was the right course of action from Tognoni, but an unfortunate result for both fighters, especially Chairez, who may have very well been seconds away from securing the legitimate finish. If Lacerda lost this fight, he would have fallen to 0-5 in the UFC, and almost certainly would have been cut from the promotion, so this result will likely lead to one last shot in the promotion for Lacerda, as I imagine they will run this fight back in the near future.
ROMAN KOPYLOV (11-2, 185.5) VS JOSH FREMD (11-4, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Fremd worked his jab early in the fight before he started to mix in the occasional straight right hand to the body. Fremd landed numerous kicks to the lead leg and body of Kopylov, getting the better of the early action on the feet. Later in the round, Kopylov began to sit down on his strikes, and it quickly became apparent that Kopylov had the advantage in terms of power, although he was having more trouble finding his range. Kopylov defended a takedown from Fremd and landed a short combination of strikes after the fighters separated. Kopylov ended the round strongly, catching Fremd with a spinning back fist and an uppercut before time expired.
A left hand from Kopylov caught Fremd hard at the start of the second round. Fremd responded with a looping right hook, before shooting for another takedown, unsuccessfully. Kopylov caught Fremd with a head kick through his guard, before he surged forward, tagging Fremd with a straight right hand. An accidental low blow to Kopylov led to a momentary break in the action, but Kopylov appeared to be fine and surged forward with a lengthy combination of strikes as the action resumed. A pair of heavy body kicks from Kopylov lowered the guard of Fremd towards the end of the round, before one last brutal left hand to the body floored Fremd, ending the fight.
WINNER: Roman Kopylov by TKO at 4:44 of Round 2
The first round of this fight was very competitive, and Fremd even seemed to be getting the better of the action early, but the momentum of the bout shifted once Kopylov found his timing. Kopylov began to flurry forward with lighting-quick combinations, with each strike thrown with fight-ending intent. It was not long before Fremd was bleeding heavily from his nose, and the cumulative damage from Kopylov’s offensive onslaught quickly wore on him. The body shots that ended the fight were especially brutal, and it was no surprise when Fremd eventually crumbled from the final left hand. Kopylov has now finished four consecutive fights after dropping his first two fights in the UFC and is approaching ranked competition.
LOOPY GODINEZ (10-3, 116) VS ELISE REED (7-3, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
Godinez quickly engaged Reed in the clinch, where she landed a pair of knees to the body before she started looking for a takedown. It did not take Godinez long to ground Reed, but Reed quickly escaped to her feet. Not long after the fighters separated, a huge left hook from Godinez dropped Reed hard, and Godinez quickly followed Reed to the ground. Reed fought her way out of a rear naked choke, as well as an armbar, stacking Godinez to escape one last triangle armbar attempt at the end of the round.
Reed attempted to take the fight to the ground early in the second round, but Godinez quickly reversed the positioning, taking top position with four minutes to work in the round. Reed escaped to her feet, but a quick combination from Godinez seemed to stun Reed, and she slammed her right back to the ground impactfully. Godinez locked in a rear naked choke, and this time, Reed was forced to tap.
WINNER: Loopy Godinez by rear naked choke at 3:38 of Round 2
This was about as one-sided of a fight as you will see. Godinez was far too much for Reed to handle here, doing significant damage on the feet, rocking and dropping Reed while dominating the action on the ground as well, threatening numerous submissions before finally catching Reed with the fight-ending rear-naked choke. Godinez has had some solid outings since debuting in the UFC back in 2021, but this may have been her best showing to date, and this was the type of decisive win that could very well earn her another shot at ranked competition. Godinez is now 6-3 in the UFC, and she has won three consecutive fights.
FERNANDO PADILLA (15-4, 145.5) VS KYLE NELSON (14-5-1, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Padilla worked his jab from the beginning of the fight, which quickly opened up cuts on Nelson’s nose and beneath his eye. Nelson responded largely with leg kicks while timing the occasional counter between Padilla’s strikes as well. The pace of this opening round was not overwhelming, as Nelson spent much of the round with his guard high on the backfoot, but Padilla’s constant pressure did lead to activity on both sides, with Padilla holding the apparent edge in terms of damage. 10-9 Padilla.
Nelson cracked Padilla with a pair of heavy right hands to start the second round, and he started swinging wildly in an attempt to force a finish. Padilla took the shots well and started to swing back, showcasing an impressive chin, and eventually slowing Nelson’s attack. Padilla regained the momentum as the round progressed, but his offense was not as damaging as Nelson’s, and was never able to make up the ground he lost in the early minutes of the round. 19-19.
Nelson landed a pair of right hands over the top as Padilla dug in with an uppercut. An accidental low blow to Nelson led to a momentary pause in the action while Nelson was given time to recover. As the round progressed, Nelson continued to land the heavier strikes, while Padilla slowly walked forward, looking to trap Nelson against the cage with his short combinations. Padilla appeared to have the slight edge in terms of output, but Nelson was finding a home for his strikes more often, seemingly landing with more power as well. The fight went the distance, and I scored it 29-28 for Kyle Nelson.
WINNER: Kyle Nelson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Padilla started the fight off strongly, working his jab to great effect. His forward pressure allowed him to initiate each of the early exchanges, without Nelson throwing much back at Padilla in response, but as the fight progressed, Nelson gauged his timing and began to respond with heavy counters that were doing far more damage than any of the strikes that Padilla was throwing Nelson’s way in response. It was a very close fight, but the apparent edge in damage for Nelson rightfully earned him the final two rounds and the hard-fought victory. Nelson is now 3-4-1 in the UFC, and he called out Cub Swanson after his win.
DANIEL ZELLHUBER (13-1, 156) VS CHRISTOS GIAGOS (20-10, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
A huge left hand from Giagos rocked Zellhuber just over a minute into the fight, and he began to swing like a madman in an attempt to secure the early finish. Giagos found a home for some of those strikes, and Zellhuber was in deep trouble early in this fight, but he managed to recover and the fighters reset. Giagos continued to land the bigger shots throughout the round, and it felt as though Zellhuber never really got going in this opening round, falling behind on the scorecards as a result.
Giagos was doing a good job of tagging Zellhuber on his way in and threatened to take the fight to the ground whenever Zellhuber began to pick up the aggression. Zellhuber’s takedown defense held up well, and his confidence seemed to be growing as the round progressed, landing some solid combinations whenever he had Giagos trapped against the cage. A hard right hand from Zellhuber prompted Giagos to shoot for a takedown, and Zellhuber immediately locked in an anaconda choke, forcing Giagos to submit.
WINNER: Daniel Zellhuber by anaconda choke at 3:26 of Round 2
Giagos had Zellhuber in trouble early in the bout, hurting him with a clean left hand. Zellhuber survived Giagos’s early flurry, but he was having trouble finding his range, as Giagos was countering Zellhuber consistently on his way in. By the second round however, it was becoming clear that Zellhuber’s strikes were hurting Giagos whenever he landed cleanly, and Giagos would have big reactions whenever one of these shots landed, either attempting a takedown or initiating a wild brawl. Zellhuber recognized this, and upon hurting Giagos on the feet one more time, Zellhuber immediately countered a takedown attempt from Giagos with an anaconda choke, securing the second-round submission victory. Zellhuber is now 2-1 in the UFC following this win.
RAUL ROSAS JR. (7-1, 135) VS TERRENCE MITCHELL (14-3, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
The fighters immediately began trading wild strikes, until a huge left hand from Rosas sent Mitchell to the ground hard. Rosas followed Mitchell to the ground and quickly finished the fight with ground-and-pound strikes.
WINNER: Raul Rosas Jr. by TKO at 0:54 of Round 1
Both of these fighters came to brawl, and that resulted in a very quick finish here, with Rosas dropping Mitchell with a hard left hand before securing the ground and pound finish. It was a very short bout, and there was not much to break down from the fight itself, but Rosas came off as a star to the live crowd, who exploded when he finished the fight. Rosas is now 2-1 in the UFC following this win, and this marked his sixth win by first-round finish, as well as his second knockout victory.
KEVIN HOLLAND (25-9, 1 NC, 170.5) VS JACK DELLA MADDALENA (15-2, 171) – WELTERWEIGHT
Della Maddalena opened up with a number of leg kicks, which prompted Holland to respond with some leg kicks of his own. A lengthy combination of strikes from Della Maddalena had Holland in a spot of trouble against the cage, and while Holland escaped the positioning, he was getting caught repeatedly by Della Maddalena on the feet, who was finding great success with his attacks to the body and lead leg of Holland. Holland was active offensively as well, but he was having trouble getting past the guard of Della Maddalena, while Della Maddalena was landing each of his strikes with legitimate power. 10-9 Della Maddalena.
The second round started to play out much like the previous five minutes. Holland found success whenever he attacked the body, and did a good job of keeping Della Maddalena at range, but whenever Della Maddalena went on the attack, he was headhunting, and arguably landing the more damaging shots. Holland began to pull ahead in terms of general volume, and that activity was keeping Della Maddalena from getting too aggressive himself, resulting in him arguably falling behind in the round. A four-piece combination of hooks to the head and body shots caught Holland, who took the strikes well before shooting for a takedown unsuccessfully. This was another close round, but this time, I gave the edge to Holland. 19-19.
The fighters did not let up in the fight’s final round, continuing to trade strikes at an impressive pace. The strike count in the round was even as the fight approached its final ninety seconds, and with neither fighter having a big moment throughout the round, this final round still felt as though it was up for grabs. Della Maddalena came on big in the fight’s final minute with some heavier combinations of strikes, and that very well may have been enough to earn him what was another close round. 29-28 Della Maddalena.
WINNER: Jack Della Maddalena by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
The crowd turned on this fight by the third round, but I thought this was a fairly interesting bout that was never lacking in terms of activity. Holland was constantly poking at Della Maddalena with a wide variety of strikes but was having trouble in terms of accuracy, as Della Maddalena was going a very good job of blocking Holland’s heavier strikes. Della Maddalena certainly did a better job of creating opportunities to land damaging blows, but Holland fought well defensively as well, and Della Maddalena was generally unable to fight with his typical level of aggressiveness. I scored the fight for Della Maddalena, as I thought he edged Holland out in terms of damage in two of the three rounds, but many saw the fight for Holland as well, including one of the three judges. It was certainly a close fight, but in the end, Della Maddalena’s arm was raised, and his UFC record now stands at 6-0. Della Maddalena lost his first two professional fights but has gone on to win his sixteen bouts since, and with a perfect record in the UFC, I do think it is time for Della Maddalena to be tested against a top ten fighter in the rankings.
ALEXA GRASSO (16-3, 124.5) VS VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO (23-4, 124.5) – UFC FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
This was a rematch of a fight from March of this year, where Grasso submitted Shevchenko in the fourth round to take her UFC Flyweight Championship.
The fighters touched gloves to start the main event. Shevchenko opened up with a kick to the body, before landing a left hand. The fighters exchanged left hands, trading in the pocket early in this fight. Grasso defended a takedown attempt but ate a hard elbow on the break. Shevchenko took Grasso down with a body lock, and it did not take long for Shevchenko to work her way to Grasso’s back, but she was positioned too high, allowing Grasso to escape to her feet before the round’s conclusion. 10-9 Shevchenko.
Grasso defended Shevchenko’s first takedown attempt of the second round, keeping the fight on the feet. A straight right hand from Grasso dropped Shevchenko, and while Shevchenko recovered quickly, she ate a number of hard knees to the body in the clinch before the fighters separated. Shevchenko took the fight back to the ground with a double leg but was unable to do much with the position. Shevchenko eventually returned to her feet, where she threw axe kicks down at Grasso, before jumping back into her guard. Shevchenko was able to do some damage from top position, but not nearly enough to take the round back. 19-19.
Grasso and Shevchenko exchanged jabs throughout the opening minutes of the third round until Shevchenko opted to take the fight back to the ground. Shevchenko nearly locked in a mounted guillotine choke at one point, but Grasso survived the dangerous spot, although she gave up her back in the process. Shevchenko had a body triangle locked in, but Grasso did a good job of fighting the hands, making it out the round despite spending the vast majority of it in very dangerous positions. 29-28 Shevchenko.
Grasso successfully sprawled on a big takedown attempt from Shevchenko in the fourth round, catching her with numerous knees to the head in the process. Grasso took the fight to the ground, but Shevchenko quickly turned into top position. Grasso picked herself up along the fence, although she was caught by an elbow from Shevchenko as the fighters broke apart. Late in the round, Shevchenko got the fight back to the ground with another bodylock but was unable to do much with the position before time expired. This was the closest round of the fight, but I gave the slight edge to Grasso. 38-38.
Grasso was bleeding heavily from a cut beneath her left eye in this fifth round, but the cut was not impacting her vision. The fighters were largely trading singular strikes, and it was tough to say who was landing the better shots, but both fighters were naturally cautious about making a mistake in the final round of such a close fight. Shevchenko’s jab was her best weapon, while I thought that Grasso’s leg kicks generated reactions from Shevchenko whenever she landed them. Late in the round, Shevchenko looked to take the fight to the ground, but Grasso reversed the positioning to take top position on the ground, where she took the back of Shevchenko and looked to sink in the rear naked choke. Grasso could not secure the finish, but she remained on Shevchenko’s back until the end of the round, taking the final five minutes on the scorecards. 48-47 Grasso.
Result: Split draw (48-47, 47-47, 47-48). Alexa Grasso retains the UFC Flyweight Championship
Mike Bell was the judge who turned in the scorecard of 47-47, giving Shevchenko three of the five rounds, but scoring the fifth round 10-8 in favor of Alexa Grasso. While I scored the final round for Grasso as well, I do not think there is any defense for giving Grasso a 10-8 in that round, especially if you are not giving Shevchenko a 10-8 for her performance in the third round, or Grasso a 10-8 for the damage she did in the fights second round. This was certainly one of the more controversial scorecards in recent memory, although I do not think a draw would have been an outrageous scorecard if he had awarded that 10-8 to one of the aforementioned rounds, which both saw both far more dominant and one-sided victors. Personally, I scored the fight for Alexa Grasso, as I believe she did enough to earn the fourth round, which was really the only round of the fight that did not have a clear victor, but this will be a tough result for Shevchenko, who would have regained her title here if not for the 10-8 fifth round on Mike Bells scorecard. Outside of the scoring controversy, I thought this was a very entertaining fight, made even stronger by the live crowd who were completely behind Alexa Grasso. The fighters were fairly evenly matched on the feet, with Shevchenko having the higher output, while the bigger strikes belonged to Grasso. The major difference maker in the bout was Shevchenko’s considerable grappling advantage, as she was able to take Grasso down repeatedly throughout the fight, but it was Grasso’s late success on the ground that resulted in her retaining her UFC Flyweight Championship, after reversing a takedown attempt from Shevchenko to take top position for the fights final minute. It would not surprise me if the UFC opted to go directly to the trilogy fight between these two fighters following this result, but Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot both await title shots as well and if not Shevchenko, then I imagine it will be one of those two fighters who get the next shot at Grasso’s title.