Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo says Alexa Grasso could surprise Valentina Shevchenko if she stands and trades with her.
For her eighth defense, reigning flyweight champion Shevchenko faces Grasso in the co-main event of UFC 285, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. When sizing up her opponent, the ‘Bullet’ admits Grasso poses quite a challenge in terms of her striking.
“Of course [her boxing is good], but there’s a difference here: We’re fighting MMA, not boxing,” said Shevchenko in an interview with Danny Segura of MMA Junkie. “I know that her background is boxing and striking, but that doesn’t mean she’s not going to use all the weapons she can use in MMA. The strategy is different for the fight. I’m ready to fight wherever the fight goes — striking, wrestling, ground game. I know what to do and how to dominate in each area. I will show that on Saturday.”
Though confident she dominates Grasso in every aspect, Cejudo cautions Shevchenko from spending too much time striking with her opponent. Having trained with the Mexican contender at Fight Ready in Arizona, ‘Triple C’ has first-hand experience with how hard Grasso hits.
“I will say this: This fight will go the distance,” said Cejudo on his official YouTube channel. “The toughest matchup that Valentina’s going to have is against a girl like Alexa Grasso. Alexa Grasso has power in her hands. If Valentina decides to sit there and go blow-for-blow with Alexa Grasso, Alexa Grasso could potentially put her out.”
That said, Cejudo could see Shevchenko adjusting her game plan and focusing on an area he says previous opponents of Grasso have yet to address.
“So what would Valentina be more likely to do? There’s one thing that Alexa Grasso does have that not a lot of people have capitalized [on], is her stance,” said Cejudo. “She’s very, very wide in her stance, and I do believe that if Valentina plays her game right tactically, there’s going to be a lot of leg kicks.”
When is UFC 285?
UFC 285 takes place on Saturday, March 4. The early prelims begin at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+. The prelims take place at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNN and ESPN+. The main card is at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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