BARRIO – (CBS) – The most dominant champion in women’s flyweight history is a titleholder no more as Alexa Grasso became the first Mexican-born female to win a UFC title on Saturday in a monster upset at UFC 285.
Grasso (16-3) became the third active Mexican UFC champion, joining men’s flyweight Brandon Moreno and interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez, and became the first 125-pound fighter to defeat Valentina Shevchenko (23-4) in a stunning fourth-round submission in the co-main event inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“This is a dream come true,” Grasso said. “I have dreamed of this moment for so long.”
Shevchenko’s incredible flyweight title reign, which began in 2018 with a decision win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant title, reached a UFC female record of seven title defenses. But Grasso, 29, provided a legitimate threat to the crown in the opening round when she rocked Shevchenko with a left cross that likely won her the close round before Shevchenko relied on her wrestling in Rounds 2 and 3 to storm back.
Just as it looked as if Shevchenko had completely regained the momentum, however, Grasso made a key counter to a spinning high kick attempt by the champion that led directly to her demise in Round 4. Grasso ducked in to instantly take Shevchenko’s back while securing a rear-naked choke as the two fell to the ground.
After a brief struggle, Shevchenko tapped out at 4:34 to crown just the third women’s flyweight champion in UFC history since the division debuted in 2017.
“It was the training,” Grasso said. “I trained for this and I trained every single day because I knew she had spinning kicks.”
Shevchenko was humble in defeat during her post-fight interview but shared her belief that she deserves an immediate rematch.
“This is kind of what is happening in mixed martial arts. This is how the game goes,” Shevchenko said. “Congratulations to Alexa. You do whatever you have to do to win the fight in some situations. This is what happened. This is good for the decision to have more life before I come back and win back my title.”
The victory was the fifth straight for Grasso since moving up to 125 pounds in 2020. Shevchenko, whose win streak was snapped at nine, suffered her first defeat since a disputed split decision against Amanda Nunes in their 2017 rematch for the bantamweight title.