UFC names Grasso, Shevchenko coaches for TUF

Two of the top women’s fighters in the world will coach against each other on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

UFC women’s flyweight champion Alexa Grasso and former champ Valentina Shevchenko will be coaches on the show, which will premiere June 4 on ESPN, UFC CEO Dana White announced Friday on social media. Grasso and Shevchenko are already in Las Vegas for the filming, which will begin next week, sources told ESPN.

The season, the 32nd of the reality series, will feature fighters from the featherweight and middleweight divisions. The winner of each of those tournaments will earn a UFC contract.

Grasso and Shevchenko will fight each other after the show airs, as is typical. But no bout is official just yet. The most likely landing spot for that trilogy fight is UFC 306 on Sept. 14 at the Sphere in Las Vegas, a card that will celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Grasso, the UFC’s first Mexican-born women’s champion, and Shevchenko headlined last year’s Noche UFC event for Mexican Independence Day. They fought to a draw.

Grasso (16-3-1) is unbeaten in six straight. She defeated Shevchenko to win the title via submission at UFC 285 in March 2023. Grasso, 30, has not lost since moving up to flyweight from strawweight in 2020.

Shevchenko (23-4-1) had a nine-fight winning streak snapped by Grasso last year. The fighter from Kyrgyzstan had seven successful title defenses at flyweight, the most consecutive title defenses in one division by any woman in UFC history. Shevchenko, 36, is considered one of the greatest women’s MMA fighters of all time.

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