After Noche UFC’s controversial decision, should a trilogy be next for Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko?

MMA: UFC Fight Night - Las Vegas- Grasso vs Shevchenko
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This past Saturday night in the main event of Noche UFC, the women’s flyweight title was on the line. Alexa Grasso (16-3-1) was looking to successfully defend her title as she took on the longtime former champion Valentina Shevchenko (23-4-1).

This fight was an immediate rematch after Grasso shocked the world and submitted Shevchenko back in March. In the first round of the fight on Saturday night, Shevchenko made a statement. She fought behind a power jab and big body kicks. No doubt that Shevchenko won the first round.

In the second round, Grasso was able to drop Shevchenko with a right hand and that sealed the round for her. The third round was another dominant round for Shevchenko. She nearly finished the fight with a guillotine and controlled the entire round from the top position. The fourth round was the closest of the fight with both fighters having a ton of success.

The night of Noche UFC, I had it 3-1 Shevchenko heading into the final round. Admittedly, I have not rewatched the fight to see if it should’ve been 2-2 which it easily could’ve been. Shevchenko dominated the striking through three and a half minutes of the final round just peppering the face of Grasso.

Then, Shevchenko made a grave mistake. She went for a throw to secure the round and Grasso ended up on her back and got the fight to the ground. Grasso spent the final minute and a half on the back of Shevchenko. When the fight ended, I thought it was 48-47 either way. It was going to be a very close decision.

When the scores were read, one judge gave it to Shevchenko and another to Grasso. Then, we heard the controversial scorecard. A 47-47 draw where Mike Bell gave Grasso a 10-8 in the fifth which is one of the worst round scores I’ve ever seen. That abysmal mistake led to a draw and no real resolution at Noche UFC.

What’s next after Noche UFC?

Alexa Grasso won the fifth round with the back control she got for the final 90 seconds. However, that was not even close to a 10-8 round. There’s not even an argument that can defend that being a 10-8 round. Had Mike Bell not botched that score, Valentina Shevchenko walks out of Noche UFC with the flyweight title after winning a split decision.

Instead of the amazing fight we witnessed on Saturday, all we can talk about is how horrible the judging was. There’s a very clear argument for both Grasso and Shevchenko winning this fight. It was that competitive and close. However, there’s no justifying a 10-8 in the final round for Alexa Grasso.

After the fight, Grasso hinted that she’d prefer to move on to a fresh challenge. However, the UFC’s flyweight champion has to realize that she didn’t win the fight on Saturday. A split draw is not a victory despite the fact that she walked away with her title. Shevchenko was visibly frustrated by that scoring and indicated that because it was Mexican Independence Day, that impacted that score. You can say she’s salty about it, but if you were in her spot, wouldn’t you think the same?

My personal opinion is that the UFC should run it back again. Grasso said she didn’t want to hold up the division, but in this case, it’s not actually a holdup. Manon Fiorot and Erin Blanchfield both have cases for title shot. However, there’s not a clear number one contender. The promotion can have Grasso and Shevchenko run it back while Fiorot and Blanchfield fight for a clear top contender spot. Not sure what they’ll end up doing, but I think that’s the best way forward.

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