In the biggest upset in UFC this year, Mexican mixed martial arts fighter Alexa Grasso defeated seven-time defending flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285 in Las Vegas Saturday night (March 4). This makes her the first Mexican-born UFC Women’s Champion.
As a 6-1 underdog, Grasso stopped Shevchenko inside the last minute of the fourth round by submitting her with a rear-naked choke hold. Shevchenko had won nine straight fights before facing off with Grasso.
As soon as Shevchenko tapped out, Grasso raised her hands and screamed while still laying on the canvas. She put her hands to her face before her corner scooped her up and carried her around the octagon to celebrate.
“Please punch me, I feel like I’m dreaming,” Grasso said. “I’ve been dreaming for this moment for so long.”
Grasso was able to get into position to submit Shevchenko when the latter threw a spinning back kick that left her back open for Grasso to jump on. Once the two hit the floor, Grasso started working her right arm under Shevchenko’s chin. Once it was deep into her neck, it took about 15 seconds for Shevchenko to tap out.
“I trained for that,” Grasso said. “I trained it every single day. I knew she did spinning things.”
Shevchenko asked for a rematch immediately after the official results were announced. Grasso didn’t seem to have a problem with the request saying, “Of course, we can do this again.”
Grasso’s victory on Saturday makes her the third Mexican-born UFC fighter to win a championship this year. Brandon Moreno is the current flyweight champion while Yair Rodriguez is the current interim featherweight champion.
In January, Moreno scored a TKO over Deiveson Figueiredo when doctors stopped the fight before the third round began at UFC 283. In February, Rodriguez ended Josh Emmett’s night with a triangle choke submission in the second round of UFC 284.
Congratulations are in order for all three, especially Alexa Grasso!