Alexa Grasso is queen, and there will be no UFC rematch – (mma)²

There's a new mathematical formula to decide who gets a rematch, and it doesn't add up for Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso 3.

By: Chris Rini | 4 days ago
Alexa Grasso is queen, and there will be no UFC rematch – (mma)²
Alexa Grasso


Last week I wrote a column for the Bloody Elbow substack newsletter detailing how Alexa Grasso could capitalize on Valentina Shevchenko’s predictable approach to fights, particularly “Bullet’s” compulsion to unnecessarily mix the martial arts. This habit rears its head when Shevchenko insists on taking fights to the ground even though she clearly has an advantage on the feet. It caused her to drag out the Pearl Gonzalez fight, almost cost her the Talia Santos title defense, and on Saturday night at UFC Noche it lost her the fifth round and ultimately the remtach with Alexa Grasso.

Saturday night’s main event was excellent, a nail biter for everone in attendance becuase it walked the tightrope of MMA judging: impactful moments versus control time. Between submitting the champ and punching her halfway across the octaon, Alexa Grasso has made Valentina Shevchenko look vulnerable like no other figher has, not even women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes. The striking exchange in the second round that sent Shevchenko tumbling backwards gave me Edgar vs Maynard 2 flashbacks and will be part of Alexa Grasso’s highlight reel forever.

Alexa Grasso knocks down Valentina Shevchenko at UFC Noche
Alexa Grasso knocks down Valentina Shevchenko at UFC Noche

Plenty of other columnists, podcasters, and talking heads will fixate on the 10-8 score that Mike Bell turned in but I cannot give in to that line of thinking. It is what it is. There’s a reasonable argument that Alexa Grasso took three of the five rounds that I’m content to accept. The path was wrong but the end result was right, and the correct woman is currently wearing the belt. With that reality settling in it brings up the rematch question and my stance is: NO. Please, no more rematches.

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This is a scene from the Marvel comics storyline “House of M,” where the Scarlet Witch erases all mutants

There are better options at flyweight for Alexa Grasso

Rematches can harm fans and fighters in a variety of way but primarily they stall out divisions. Women’s flyweight is bursting with a new generation of talent. Manon Fiorot and Erin Blanchfield are both undefeated in the UFC and pose different challenges to Alexa Grasso’s reign.

Blanchfield has proben to be a threat on the ground but uses a clinch and trips based game to get the fight to the canvas as opposed to Shevchenko’s level change to double leg approach. This, along with Blanchfield’s youth and submission game provide an exciting new matchup.

Fiorot is the opposite, a kick-heavy striker, huge for the weightclass, and fights best when she plays the bully.

To have these contenders languish on the sidelines risks fan fatigue over seeing the same fight over and over while new faces fade from relevance. To have them fight each other and knock one out of contention is doing a disservice to what they’ve accomplished. Not every win right before a title shot has to also be exciting.

Erin Blanchfield trips Jessica Andrade
Erin Blanchfield trips Jessica Andrade

Lose once, shame on you. Lose twice, you can’t go lose again.

Rematches can have a detrimental effect on the fighters who seemingly benefit from them. When a former champion is granted an immediate rematch, if they lose that fight they’re stuck in a holding pattern. We’ve seen this happen to Max Holloway in his trilogy with Alexander Volkanovski which has hemmed up the division as Max defeats potential challengers while not being able to generate momentum for a fourth fight.

There’s no such thing as “deserve” in the UFC

The most frustrating talking point about immediate rematches is that long standing champs ‘deserve’ them. That is a fairy tale perpetuated by internet conspiracy theorists. The UFC will award immediate rematches if it is judged to be in the company’s best interest. This could be based on projected PPV sales, or just what’s convenient for the ESPN schedule, but do not be fooled that merit has anything to do with it.

Jose Aldo was the greatest featherweight the promotion ever knew and the man never even sniffed a rematch with Conor McGregor. Aljamain Sterling was being talked about as potential bantamweight great but the promotion hasn’t said a word about ‘deserve’ since Sean O’Malley aced him with a right hand counter.

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What Really Matters

There’s a lot of MMAth that goes on in our weird world. I’m going to put forth my own theory to explain who gets what and why. It’s fairly simply, Hype = Merit.

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About the author
Chris Rini
Chris Rini

Chris Rini is an artist and BloodyElbow’s editorial cartoonist. He has been an artist since 1996 and publishes an annual book called The Fine Art of Violence. Chris has worked in Mixed Martial arts since 2013 and in his spare time makes terrariums, plays keyboards, and trains BJJ.

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