Noche UFC lived up to the hype as a thrilling event that showcased some of the best mixed martial arts action, but it will be remembered for a controversial ending that left fighters, fans, and experts scratching their heads.
On a night that couldn’t have been scripted any better, UFC officials delivered a spectacular event to celebrate Mexican Independence Day weekend. The highlight of the night was the highly anticipated rematch for the women’s flyweight title, pitting champion Alexa Grasso against former champion Valentina Shevchenko. The fight was a closely contested battle that kept fans on the edge of their seats throughout.
Junichiro Kamijo scored the fight 48-47 in favor of Grasso, while Sal D’Amato had it 48-47 for Shevchenko. It was a contest where either fighter could make a strong case for victory, and the split decision seemed fitting given the competitive nature of the fight.
However, the third judge, Mike Bell, submitted a shocking 47-47 scorecard. Bell’s scorecard had Shevchenko leading 39-37 heading into the final round, despite Grasso’s late surge in the fifth. Shevchenko had controlled much of the final round, but Grasso managed to secure a takedown and landed in a dominant position. She took Shevchenko’s back, applied a body triangle, and delivered a series of shots to Shevchenko.
Bell could have awarded Grasso the round 10-9, but instead he awarded her a 10-8, ultimately resulting in the controversial split draw. This extra point effectively erased Shevchenko’s lead and left both fighters and the raucous crowd at T-Mobile Arena in disbelief.
Valentina Shevchenko’s resilience in the face of adversity was a remarkable aspect of the fight. She continued to battle on, even after breaking her thumb in the first round, and didn’t complain when Grasso landed illegal knees in the third, a situation referee Herb Dean failed to address.
The highly anticipated rematch between Grasso and Shevchenko provided plenty of drama and excitement, but the controversy surrounding the scorecards will undoubtedly be the lasting memory of Noche UFC. While the fighters themselves had mixed opinions on the official result, there’s no denying that the showdown between these two warriors lived up to the expectations, showcasing the incredible talent and heart that defines the UFC’s flyweight division. This fight deserves a trilogy and Valentina Shevchenko deserves a rematch.
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