LAS VEGAS (AP) — Alexa Grasso retained her flyweight title after earning a split draw against Valentina Shevchenko on Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 227.
This was the first time the UFC held a main card on Mexican Independence Day, keeping with the combat sports tradition of holding big fights on September 16.
It was a highly anticipated rematch from March 4, when Grasso pulled off the upset with a fourth-round submission after Shevchenko missed badly when leading her attack with a back kick. Grasso quickly went for the takedown and was eventually able to apply a rear naked choke to win the belt.
On Saturday, neither fighter made many mistakes but instead took advantage of advantageous situations. It took a strong fifth-round finish from Grasso to earn the draw, with each fighter scoring 48-47, with a third judge scoring the fight 47-47.
In the co-main event, 14th-ranked welterweight Jack Della Maddalena (16-2) earned a split decision over 13th-ranked Kevin Holland (25-10), with all three judges giving scores of 29-28.
“I thought it was close, I feel like he ended up in the cage a little bit more, but either way, I’m not the judge,” Della Maddalena said. “The plan was to come in, be defensive, use my eyes and wait for my shots.
Raul Rosas Jr. (8-1) landed a powerful left hook that dropped Terrence Mitchell (14-4) and immediately pounced for a ground-and-pound attack, prompting referee Mark Smith to stop their bout of three rounds at bantamweight at 55 seconds of the first round, sending the crowd into a frenzy and his mother, Oyuki Rios, into tears of joy.
“I had to prove something today,” said Rosas, 18, who was coming off his first defeat. “I knew I had to come back from that, I knew I was better than, I disappointed my fans, my people.”
Daniel Zellhuber (14-1) used a right hand to hurt Christos Giagos (20-11) and finally took him to the ground and made him submit with an anaconda choke at 3:26 of the second round in their three – round and light combat.
In a three-round featherweight bout to open the main card, Kyle Nelson (15-5-1) defeated Fernando Padilla (15-5) by unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 .
In what was an early contender for the preliminary card’s “Fight of the Night,” a fight that surprisingly didn’t make the main card, fan favorite Tracy Cortez, ranked 14th in the world, improved to 11-1 with a unanimous score. decision victory over Jasmine Jasudavicius (9-3) in a three-round flyweight bout.
“I know I’ve had a pretty long absence and this was my return and I really wanted to make a statement, and I think I did that tonight,” said Cortez, the only person to ever defeated Erin Blanchfield. “Would I say I’m ready for a title shot right now? No, but I’ll be ready when the time comes. But for now, tonight we really focused on my opponent. But when the time comes, I think I deserve (a title shot) next year, if things continue the way they are going.
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