The Fights | The 2023 Awards

The championship conclusion to Noche UFC was captivating, as Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko battled tooth and nail for five rounds, running level at times and trading big moments in others in a thoroughly entertaining main event.

Round 1 was relatively even, Shevchenko landing early before Grasso shifted southpaw and found success with her jab. In the second, the champ dropped the challenger with a right hand that sent her tumbling backwards, only for the former titleholder to respond by winning the third, threatening with a mounted guillotine and effective groundwork throughout.

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The championship rounds were tense and tight. In the fourth, Grasso landed a series of short knees to the head of Shevchenko before rushing a back take and losing position, with “Bullet” landing an elbow that opened up Grasso later in the frame. And in the fifth, the former champion started well, picking at Grasso before a mistake allowed the Mexican titleholder to take her back and spend the remainder of the round landing shots and threatening with choke attempts.

As the horn sounded, the crowd erupted, with the outcome uncertain. When the totals were read aloud, we had ourselves a draw, with each woman winning 48-47 on one card and the third official seeing the fight even.

Grasso retains her title in a classic encounter, and it will be interesting to see what happens from here. While not the result anyone wanted, this was an outstanding fight between two incredible talents.

Voters – Aziz Bawany, Thomas Gerbasi, E. Spencer Kyte, Steve Latrell, Gavin Porter, Zac Pacleb

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