Alexa Grasso shocked the world on Saturday night by dethroning long-reigning women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.
While Grasso started the fight off strong in the first round, Shevchenko managed to regain her composure and take the second and third rounds on the judges’ scorecards. She looked like she was winning the fourth round too … until Grasso capitalized on a poorly executed spinning elbow from “Bullet,” taking her back.
From there Grasso started working on a choke that never quite managed to get under Shevchenko’s chin. That didn’t stop the scrappy 29-year-old challenger from locking it up and turning it into a vicious face crank that forced Valentina to tap at 4:34 (watch the highlights here).
Cranks don’t usually elicit taps, but this wasn’t some typical half-assed forearm across the face. Take a look at the picture below from ESPN that shows just how tight the hold was. Shevchenko’s head above the crank is beet red while her mouth and chin after tapping is completely white.
It’s still unclear what is next for Grasso and Shevchenko. “Bullet” has defended her belt seven times, so it seems only fair that the long-standing women’s flyweight champion gets an immediate rematch. But during the UFC 285 post-fight press conference, Dana White was hesitant to commit.
For now, Grasso gets to enjoy her new title, and her place as the third Mexican UFC champion. Will she defend her belt alongside Yair Rodriguez or Brandon Moreno in Mexico sometime later this year? We can only hope.