UFC 285: Valentina Shevchenko loses flyweight title to Alexa Grasso in stunner
LAS VEGAS — The incredible championship run of Valentina Shevchenko came to a stunning end at 4:34 of the fourth round on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 285 when she tapped to a rear naked choke by Alexa Grasso.
Shevchenko tried a spinning back kick. Grasso saw it coming, dodged it and then jumped on Shevchenko’s back. Grasso quickly threw on the choke and Shevchenko tapped.
It ended her nine-fight winning streak and her eight-fight championship winning streak.
ALEXA GRASSO HAS SUBMITTED VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO!!
WE HAVE A NEW FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION 👑🇲🇽 #UFC285 pic.twitter.com/t4HMH5vXnw
— UFC (@ufc) March 5, 2023
Shevchenko’s grappling was taking over the fight, but she didn’t seem as dominant as she’d been during her reign.
Grasso defended against her well and seemed prepared for whatever Shevchenko tried. She worked repeatedly on defending against the choke and it paid off.
“I trained that every single day,” Grasso said of defending Shevchenko’s spinning back kick. “ … I knew she’d do that spinning kick. I worked so hard on it every single day.”
It will go down as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Shevchenko was ranked No. 2 on the UFC’s pound-for-pound list and was looking potentially at a third bout with pound-for-pound champ Amanda Nunes.
That was all contingent on a victory and she was not able to pull it out. It was her first loss since she suffered a defeat to Nunes in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Sept. 9, 2017, at UFC 215.
She’d won nine in a row since then, including eight title fights.
The win was Grasso’s fifth in a row and by far the biggest of her career.