President Dana White spent the last week dropping big public announcements of defenses for several of the UFC’s championship belt. Zhang Weili, Brandon Moreno, Aljamain Sterling, Amanda Nunes and Alexander Volkanovski all have fights scheduled for the next four UFC pay-per-view events. As for the other champions, all except one are waiting for a challenger to be announced.
So who is the one champ with a seemingly guaranteed fight on the horizon? Reigning UFC flyweight title holder Alexa Grasso, who White revealed would be defending against Valentina Shevchenko sometime in the near future. “We’re working on that, too,” said White at the UFC Vegas 73 post-fight press conference this past Saturday. “That’s one of the fights we’re definitely working on right now.”
Alexa Grasso dethroned Valentina Shevchenko earlier this year
Alexa Grasso earned her championship opportunity against Valentina Shevchenko after four straight wins against Ji Yeon Kim, Maycee Barber, Joanne Wood and Viviane Araújo. After the Araújo win, the 29-year-old said she wanted to test herself ‘one more time’ against another contender before she went after Shevchenko, who eked by Taila Santos in her seventh defense.
Instead of another contender, the UFC went with the champion, who said Grasso was ‘extremely good’ and ‘ready’ for the opportunity. And at UFC 285, the Mexican fighter showed how ready for Shevchenko she truly was. In an ‘Upset of the Year’ contender, Grasso dethroned the ‘Bullet’ via fourth-round face crank.
In her post-fight comments, Valentina Shevchenko said she wanted an immediate rematch since a ‘stupid situation’ led to her loss to Grasso.
“This is kind of like what happens in mixed martial arts,” said Shevchenko in her post-fight interview. “You’re winning the fight all around, all three rounds, no doubt. And a stupid situation can change the whole game. This is the part of the game. Congratulations to Alexa, and I know that I’m stronger and if not this spinning kick, [it] would be a different result.”
Alexa Grasso wanted rematch in Mexico
For Grasso, it seems she’s had no issue with the idea of an immediate rematch. The newly crowned UFC flyweight champion said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this past March that a second fight with Shevchenko ‘excited’ her.
“I’m truly excited for the second fight and I also know that people will love to see it because a lot of people say it was a mistake from her and it was a fluke,” said Grasso. “Of course I don’t think it was a fluke because I trained so much for that, but I think it’s going to be important to show everyone that I’m the champion.”
Though White did not reveal a date for Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2, the Lobo Gym fighter offered one: September 16, or Mexican Independence Day. As one of three Mexican champions, Grasso hopes the promotion can hold an event in the country again.
“I don’t know the chances, but I would love, I would love, I truly would love for this second fight to be in Mexico,” said Grasso. “And I would love that this fight could happen in Guadalajara. Imagine that. Canelo’s going to fight here in Guadalajara. Imagine to bring the UFC to my city, that would be huge. But if it’s Mexico City, that would be great too.
“September sounds great,” continued Grasso. “September sounds amazing, but let’s see. Of course, before the end of this year, I would like to fight. Two fights every year sounds good. I truly hope that this can be in Mexico.”
White has said the promotion was ‘f—king up’ by not going to Mexico, but perhaps that can change now that Grasso is gearing up for her rematch against Shevchenko. If she does still want to fight in September, however, it seems like the only PPV the UFC has that month is set for Sydney, Australia.
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