The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back with a PPV this weekend. Although fans have already witnessed two good PPVs this year, UFC 285 is perhaps the most anticipated event on the schedule. Jon Jones is finally returning to the UFC and he is fighting Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight belt. But the women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko is set to be on the card too.
Valentina Shevchenko will defend her 125 lbs title against Alexa Grasso. Shevchenko had a rocky performance against Taila Santos in her last fight at UFC 275. Despite getting out-wrestled early in the fight, Shevchenko got the job done and won the bout via a split decision. Hence, she would be looking to get back to her dominant winning ways with this fight.
SHEVCHENKO vs GRASSO! #UFC285 is LIVE SATURDAY on @ESPNPlus PPV pic.twitter.com/U5pSWQQbH3
— danawhite (@danawhite) March 3, 2023
But Alexa Grasso is on a great run. She has won 5 of her last 6 fights and her last loss was against Carla Esparza in 2019. Grasso is currently on a 4-fight win streak and defeated Viviane Araújo in her last outing in the Octagon. Currently, the Mexican fighter occupies the 6th position in the division. However, if Jamahal Hill’s championship win at UFC 283 is anything to go by, then fans should not put too much stock in the rankings.
UFC 285: Valentina Shevchenko vs Alexa Grasso, Stats
|Stats||Valentina Shevchenko||Alexa Grasso|
|Height||1.65 m||1.65 m|
|Division||UFC Flyweight||Women’s Flyweight|
|Reach||168.9 cm||167.6 cm|
Shevchenko vs Grasso: Fight Breakdown
Alexa Grasso only has 5 finishes in her career. Grasso has 4 knockout wins and 1 submission win. She has only one finish in the UFC and it came against Joanne Wood in March 2022. Alexa defeated Wood via a rear-naked choke submission. But other than that, Grasso is yet to establish herself as a dominant force in the UFC.
But being dominant is not an issue for Valentina Shevchenko. Valentina currently has one of the longest win streaks in the UFC with 9 wins! Out of her 9 wins, 8 came in championship fights. As a result, Valentina has firmly established herself as one of the female GOATs in the sport. However, even the best can have a bad day at the office and Amanda Nunes learned that lesson the hard way against Julianna Pena.
Shevchenko has a background in Muay Thai and her spectacular KO win over Jessica Eye proves her striking prowess. However, her grappling skills also come in very handy as well. As per UFC stats, Valentina lands 3.19 strikes per minute and secures 2.53 takedowns per fight. Her opponents only land 1.90 strikes per minute, which is a testament to her amazing striking defense.
Grasso, on the other hand, is not so big on grappling. She averages 0.44 takedowns per fight. But her striking stats are amazing with 5.14 strikes per minute. But Grasso also absorbs 4.02 strikes per minute as well. In terms of her grappling defense, Grasso holds a 64% takedown defense. On paper, it looks like a decent match-up.
However, calling Valentina Shevchenko the favorite will be an understatement. Her only loss in the UFC came against Amanda Nunes, and that too at bantamweight. “The Bullet” has much more in-cage experience than Grasso. On top of that, Valentina is only just 34 years of age. Although an upset may happen, Valentina Shevchenko is definitely the smart pick for the fight.
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