Valentina Shevchenko will look to defend her flyweight title for the eighth consecutive time when she faces Alexa Grasso in the co-main event at UFC 285 on March 4 in Las Vegas.
Multiple people with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. ESPN Deportes initially reported the matchup.
Regarded as one of the UFC’s most dominant champions, Shevchenko will return after her closest call since claiming the 125-pound title when she eked out a split decision over Taila Santos this past June. Prior to that fight, Shevchenko had essentially run roughshod over the flyweight division including stoppage wins over Lauren Murphy, Jessica Andrade and Katlyn Chookagian.
As for Grasso, the 29-year-old fighter from Mexico will compete for UFC gold for the first time after she was widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the sport when she signed with the promotion in 2016.
While she struggled at times competing as a strawweight, Grasso has gone undefeated since moving up to 125 pounds where she’s earned four consecutive wins including a decision victory over Viviane Araujo in her first five-round main event in the UFC.
Now Grasso will attempt to pull off an upset against Shevchenko when they clash at UFC 285, which will be headlined by Jon Jones return against Ciryl Gane in a fight that will crown a new heavyweight champion in the wake of Francis Ngannou leaving the UFC.
Mike Heck contributed to this report.