Ahead of their title fight at UFC fight night, Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko exchanged words at the Noche UFC athlete panel. During the back and forth, Grasso took a jibe at Shevchenko about taking the fight to the ground in their previous bout in spite of having impressive striking. This was in response to Shevchenko reminding the audience of her decorated background as a Muay Thai World Champion.
“I want to remind everyone [that I’m] a 17-time world Muay Thai champion,” Shevchenko said. “Seven title defenses and you cannot get rid of this. It’s going to stay in you forever. You can be better. You can make an adjustment or whatever you want to do, but the power, the confidence, and the experience is still here, and it’s gonna explode on Saturday.”
“Being a muay Thai champion, I thought you wanted to be on the striking with me, but you decided to go to the ground.”
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) September 14, 2023
In response to this Alexa Grasso cheekily said, “Being a Muay Thai champion, I thought you wanted to strike with me, but you decided to go to the ground,” Grasso added. “Fourth round, I made a lot of adjustments.”
In their previous bout at UFC 285, Grasso secured a 4th round submission win via a rear naked choke. This won her the flyweight title, which was held by Valentina Shevchenko for over 5 years. During her reign, Shevchenko defended her title 7 times in a row.
Alexa Grasso declares her love for striking
At the Noche UFC athletes panel, Alexa Grasso confessed her love for striking and hinted at keeping the fight on her feet. “I love striking fights. I do everything I can to keep the fight on the feet and I was doing pretty well,” Grasso said. “The first round was amazing. I was doing pretty well, so I’m going to bring everything an amazing fight this Saturday night.”
This Saturday at #NocheUFC 🇲🇽
Alexa Grasso vs Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight title! pic.twitter.com/jRPLw9UeJx
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) September 11, 2023
There is a distinct possibility that Grasso uses her striking to her advantage while being wary of Shevchenko’s striking prowess. At the same time, she has other weapons at her disposal in the form of her ground game, which she utilized to secure victory the last time around. Shevchenko has experience on her side, but going into the fight she is at the tail end of her career at 35 years old.
Contrastingly, Grasso is coming into her prime at 30 years old and well on her way to becoming the face of the division if she secures a double over Shevchenko this weekend at UFC Las Vegas. Will she be able to replicate her performance or will Shevchenko redeem herself? Let us know your thoughts on the matter.