Report: UFC may book first title on Fight Night card since 2020

The UFC has announced a new title fight and it may just be on a TV Fight Night card instead of pay-per-view.

By: Jack Wannan | 3 months ago
Report: UFC may book first title on Fight Night card since 2020
Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso face off for UFC 285.

Alexa Grasso’s first fight as UFC Flyweight Champion has been booked. Putting her belt on the line for the first time, Grasso will reportedly rematch former long-time champion Valentina Shevchenko on September 16, as first reported by The Schmo.

The fight, which is scheduled to take place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, will land right on Mexican Independence Day. Grasso is one of the three current UFC champions that is from Mexico (the others are Yair Rodriguez and Brandon Moreno).

Alexa Grasso appears for first time since upset win

Grasso pulled off a massive upset victory earlier this year, dethroning Valentina Shevchenko in the fourth round of a title fight with a rear naked choke submission. The Lobo Gym talent entered UFC 285 in March the same way that most opponents of Shevchenko have—a massive underdog in betting odds. A report from the fight week showed that Grasso was shown as a +575 underdog at one point. But she overcame the odds in her performance and has a title to show for it.

Grasso had a long series of wins in the run-up to the title shot, scoring four victories from 2020 to 2022. During this time she notably earned a stoppage against Joanne Wood and picked up a decision nod over Viviane Araujo.

Valentina Shevchenko returns

The win for Grasso earlier this year put an end to one of the more dominant divisional runs the UFC has ever seen. Shevchenko held the flyweight title for more than 1,500 days, first earning it in 2018 and defending it a whopping total of seven times before dropping it in March.

By the end of her run, Shevchenko defended her belt more times than any woman in UFC history. That number of title defenses ties her for fifth-most in UFC record books with Jose Aldo, who retained his featherweight belt a total of seven times at featherweight (the record is currently held by Demetrious Johnson with 11 title defenses. Behind him on the list is Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, and Jon Jones).

The loss for Shevchenko in March was her first defeat since 2017, when Amanda Nunes pulled off a split decision win in a bantamweight title bout.

After such a strong title reign previously, it’s not a surprise that Shevchenko is getting another shot at the belt without having to get past anyone else. The fight will not only be a chance for her to get back her belt, but also even the score with a fighter after a loss – something she has been able to do before.

Grasso is only the third person to beat Shevchenko in MMA. Shevchenko has previously lost to Nunes and, all the way back in 2010, Liz Carmouche. Shevchenko avenged that loss to Carmouche in 2019, making it only two names that she has lost to and not exacted revenge upon. A successful performance in September would, of course, bring that number back down to one.

What we know (and don’t) about UFC’s September 16 show

The location and date for the fight is set. However, a report confirming the fight by MMA Junkie makes note that it isn’t known whether UFC’s September 16 card will be a pay-per-view or Fight Night card at the moment. Plans have not been announced by the promotion just yet.

A Fight Night for a title bout booking would be an incredibly rare circumstance, but certainly not a first at flyweight: Shevchenko’s second time defending the belt came against Carmouche in the headlining bout of a 2019 ESPN+ Fight Night lineup.

UFC’s mid-September card is still numerous months away, so just a few matchups have been reported for it thus far. However, Grasso already isn’t the sole Mexican talent appearing on the card. Loopy Godinez, who requested to fight on Mexican Independence Day, will take on Sam Hughes at strawweight, per ESPN Deportes.

The other known bout for the card sees Chris Curtis face Anthony Hernandez at middleweight—a bout that was confirmed just last night by MMA Fighting.

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About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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