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Alexa Grasso surprised by Valentina Shevchenko’s response to loss ahead of Noche UFC: ‘There are no accidents’

Alexa Grasso ahead of Noche UFC

Alexa Grasso is surprised how Valentina Shevchenko has responded to losing.

In March, Grasso shocked the MMA world when she submitted Shevchenko in the fourth round of their flyweight title fight at UFC 285. This Saturday, the two run it back in the main event of Noche UFC, and ahead of the fight, Shevchenko has downplayed Grasso’s win, saying that she was winning the fight before making a mistake that ultimately cost her the belt. However, Grasso doesn’t quite see it that way.

“It just kind of surprised me because someone with such big experience and competing at this high, high level, we know there are no accidents,” Grasso said at the Noche UFC media day. “I trained for that moment. You can see the video that I have before the fight, I was training exactly that same position. It was something that I trained to win that fight.”

While Grasso ultimately caught Shevchenko’s back and submitted her with a choke, it was actually the champion’s striking game that gave Shevchenko problems in their first fight, forcing the decorated Muay Thai practitioner to turn to her wrestling and grappling.

Heading into the rematch, Grasso believes Shevchenko will be more focused on the striking this time around.

“I love striking fights, and it was going pretty well in the striking department, but I did a lot of adjustments just in case she doesn’t want to strike with me,” Grasso said. “But I’m excited too because she came back to Thailand to do Muay Thai again, so this excites me so much. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an amazing fight.”

Shevchenko is universally considered the greatest women’s flyweight in MMA history so a second win over her on Saturday would be a tremendous feather in Grasso’s cap, but the Mexican champion has bigger dreams than simply being the woman to unseat Shevchenko. Once she defends her title, then Grasso says the next journey begins.

“To be the champion is the first step, climbing the first mountain,” Grasso said. “But once I have it, I turn my head and realize there’s another big mountain to climb, because I want to defend it. I want to keep it. I want to show how much I’ve been evolving all these months.”

And should that journey start, there are no shortage of possible challengers for the champion. Both Manon Fiorot and Erin Blanchfield are on impressive winning streaks and recently unseated top contenders to make their respective claims for a title shot.

With Shevchenko still ahead of her, Grasso isn’t ready to pick who comes next, but come Saturday, that will be a different story.

“I’m super happy for the flyweight division,” Grasso said. “This was the last weight class in the organization. Now we are giving a lot of results, now we are having a lot of great athletes. I think they both [had great wins] and I’m happy for the division.

“Right now I’m focused on my fight this Saturday, but after, if everything goes like my plan, maybe on Saturday we can talk about that.”

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