Make-Up Score! Grasso Reveals Judge’s 10-8 ‘Confusion’

Neither Alexa Grasso nor Valentina Shevchenko planned to leave their rematch without a definitive conclusion.

Noche UFC was headlined by a thrilling back-and-forth UFC women’s Flyweight title sequel this past September 2023. The champion, Grasso, defended her crown for the first time in an immediate rematch with the fighter she took it from, Shevchenko, by fourth round rear-naked choke (watch highlights) at UFC 285 earlier that year (March 4, 2023). Unfortunately for both, part two of their rivalry resulted in what’s now been verified as an accidental split draw (watch highlights).

Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 boiled down to its championship rounds after all three judges scored the first three frames 29-28 in favor of the challenger. Round four was in agreement a 10-9 for Shevchenko by Michael Bell and Sal D’Amato while Junichiro Kamijo went in the other direction. Round five, however, was unanimously Grasso’s round, but Bell went 10-8 rather than 10-9, which perplexed the mixed martial arts (MMA) community at the time.

Bell’s card ultimately prevented the title from changing hands as with a 10-9 in round five, Shevchenko would have won a split decision.

“I’m honestly disappointed that one judge made a huge mistake because after the fight he spoke to the UFC that he had a confusion,” Grasso told Shakiel Mahjouri. “It’s super sad for things like that [to happen]. Our fight, and our big, big war had to be with this thing on. So, third fight, I’m committed to give everything to finish and to not leave it to the judges.”

Although round five was the decider, in the end, round four was the issue’s source, according to Grasso. Around the three-minute mark, the champion had her bright spot when she landed a sequence of knees to the head of Shevchenko. The question was whether or not they were legal as Shevchenko’s hand went on and off the mat. Therefore, upon review, it led Bell to have a change of mind about his submitted score that round.

“It was because of the knees [in round four],” Grasso said. of Bell’s round five 10-8. “They have to — I don’t know if you’ve seen the replay of the fight, but there’s a guy behind us that they put like a light to start popping. So, between the fourth and fifth round, they had to replay and watch to see about the knees, but it was after they gave the cards to the [scorekeepers].

“They didn’t know if those [knees] were legal,” she continued. “That was a mistake. It was after the replay he saw those were legal and he wanted to dismiss them. It’s sad. Things happen, but it is what it is. Don’t leave it to the judges.”

Essentially, had no error been made by Bell and he readjusted his scores, Grasso presumably would have round four and round five scored 10-9 for her, and she then gets a split decision nod. The pair was recently announced to coach opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter 32 (TUF), leading up to their eventual trilogy clash where they can settle things once and for all.

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