Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso fought to a draw at UFC Fight Night 227 after 25 minutes of back and forth action. Unfortunately the major talking point turned to to be the scorecards, specifically the way in which one judge denied the former champion victory.
Shevchenko appeared to be on track to win the final round, which would have been enough to get her the nod on all three scorecards. But with around a minute remaining she gave up her back while attempting a throw.
Grasso landed some ground and pound and tried for a rear naked choke and a neck crank. It was enough to win the Mexican the round but Shevchenko would still have won the fight had one judge not inexplicably scored the final round 10-8 for the champion.
That single point given to Grasso by judge Mike Bell meant that instead of Shevchenko winning 48-47 on his scorecard the result was a draw. The other two judges had it 48-47 for either fighter making that 10-8 round absolutely decisive in determining the outcome.
Unfortunately it meant all the post fight discussion was centred around that 10-8 score in the final round that ensured the contest ended in a draw. It was a close bout though and could have gone either way with both flyweights having their moments.
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Shevchenko got the better of the opening round but Grasso, fighting out of a southpaw stance, landed a right hand which dropped the former champion in the third round. She looked in trouble but was able to secure a takedown and see out the round.
Shevchenko utilized the same strategy to good effect early in the third, taking her opponent down and looking to secure a mounted guillotine. With seconds remaining in the round she transitioned to an armbar but the bell came to Grasso’s rescue.
Grasso was clearly behind heading into the fourth which was too close to call. An elbow from Shevchenko opened up a cut below the champion’s eye but the challenger finished the round defending a heel hook attempt.
A jab from Shevchenko opened the cut again at the start of the fifth. She was in complete control of the round before giving up her back attempting a takedown with around a minute remaining.
The rest is history. But the scorecards will reflect the fact that it was a split draw with Grasso (16-3-1) remaining the UFC flyweight champion and Shevchenko (23-4-1) unable to recapture the title she held for so long.
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Best of the rest
The card was held on Mexican Independence Day and had a Hispanic feel to it. In the c0-main event Raul Rosas Jr. (8-1) finished Terrence Mitchell (14-4) in under a minute of their flyweight fight.
There was also a big win for Mexican lightweight Daniel Zellhuber (14-1). He submitted Christos Giagos (20-11) with a second round anaconda choke.