Alexa Grasso retained her title tonighht at UFC Fight Night 227 after her rematch with Valentina Shevchenko ended in a split-draw ruling.
The main event flyweight title rematch is underway in Las Vegas!
Shevchenko with an early leg kick. Grasso comes up short with a punch. Nice body kick from Shevchenko. Left hand lands for Shevchenko.
Shevchenko steps into another straight left. Grasso tries for a punch and Shevchenko fires back immediately with a couple of punches. Solid body kick again from Shevchenko.
Brief exchange of punches at close range from the two rivals. Exchange again in close with Grasso landing a jab.
They clinch up for a moment and Shevchenko lands nicely. Jab for Grasso. Front kick to the body for Shevchenko. Right hand from Grasso. Jab for Shevchenko.
Shevchenko ducks under a punch and clinches up looking for a body-lock takedown. They spin around and she lands it. Shevchenko in half-guard with around a minute of the opening round remaining.
Shevchenko able to take the back and would like to find a choke, but Grasso is able to scramble and get back to her feet. Shevchenko remains clinched up against the cage though.
They exchange knees in the clinch. Shevchenko continues to press her into the cage and look for knees as the round ends.
Grasso with a leg kick. Now one from Shevchenko. Quick exchange with Shevchenko seeming to land. Grasso with a connection now. Shevchenko able to clinch up and gets Grasso over to the cage, but Grasso is able to disengage.
Jab for Shevchenko. Leg kick for Grasso. Shevchenko with a couple of punches as Grasso was going for a kick. Fast punch for Shevchenko, but then Grasso lands a good right hand that knocks Shevchenko backwards to the mat.
Shevchenko able to get back up and clinches up. Grasso able to start dirty boxing nicely and Shevchenko looks hurt and has to move away.
However, Shevchenko then goes in for a double-leg in the center of the Octagon and lands it well. Grasso holds onto her head, but then lets go and Shevchenko settles into her full guard.
Shevchenko postures up to land a few hard punches, but then eats an upkick as she stands over the champ. Shevchenko lands a few hard kicks to her grounded opponents legs. Shevchenko tries to drop back into her guard. Grasso keeping her partially at bay with her legs as she throws punches from her back.
Shevchenko does get into her guard now and lands a few punches of her own. Right hand lands for Shevchenko in the final seconds of the round.
Jab for Shevchenko. Now a leg kick after Grasso missed hers. Inside leg kick from Shevchenko. Jab for Shevchenko and one from Grasso in response lands crisper.
One-two from Shevchenko comes off the guard. Shevchenko into a double-leg and turns into it to land it. Shevchenko in half-guard here and passes, but Grasso scrambles out of it. However Shevchenko pounces on a guillotine choke and rolls into full mount with it. Grasso seems ok for now though and eventually Shevchenko opts to let it go.
Grasso immediately scrambling up again, but Shevchenko takes her back and pulls her down on to her, sinking in the body triangle.
Grasso attempts to turn into her, but Shevchenko goes with her and keeps the body triangle intact. Grasso trying to punch her from behind. Shevchenko with punches of her own now.
Grasso again trying to turn into Shevchenko. She’s almost done so as the round is drawing to a close, which forces Shevchenko to try to transition to an armbar attempt from her back, but the horn sounds before we get to see the outcome of that.
Body punch for Grasso. Jab for Shevchenko. Superman punch attempt from Shevchenko. Body kick for Grasso. Inside leg kick from Grasso. Now one from Shevchenko. Jab for Shevchenko.
Jab again from Shevchenko. Nice leg kick for Grasso. More jabs exchanged. Leg kick for Shevchenko. Straight left gets through for Shevchenko.
Jab for Shevchenko and a leg kick from Grasso. Shevchenko in on a takedown and Grasso does well to stuff it and keeps her head pulled down afterwards as she starts to land some knees to the head.
They remain in the clinch. Grasso goes to the mat hunting for a submission, but Shevchenko turns into her and gets on top. Grasso able to stand up with her back to the cage. They stay in the clinch, but not for long.
Back to striking range now. Grasso has a small cut to her left eye. Jabs lands for Shevchenko. Another solid one connects. Inside leg kick for Shevchenko.
Grasso coming up a bit short with some punches. Nice right and left hanad from Shevchenko. Shevchenko ducks under a punch and goes for the body lock takedown, landing it. Grasso stands back up against the cage. Final 10 seconds of the round and Grasso drops down looking for a leg lock, but there’s not enough time left to make it work.
Right hand lands for Grasso. Shevchenko connects cleanly with the jab. She lands it again. exchange in close and an elbow scores for Shevchenko.
Shevchenko lands to the legs. Now back to the jab. Shevchenko working well behind the jab. Grasso with a leg kick.
Shevchenko doubles up on the jab. Inside leg kick from Grasso. More jab work from Shevchenko and then a left hand. Jab lands for Grasso.
Jabs exchanged. Body kick for Shevchenko. Leg kick from Grasso. More punches from Shevchenko and Grasso tries to reach for a possible takedown, but Shevchenko slides her leg out the way.
Solid left hand for Shevchenko. Jab for Grasso. Right hook from Grasso. Good right and left in close from Shevchenko.
Shevchenko goes for the takedown, but instead of going for the body lock that’s been effective for her in the fight she tries a throw instead and it fails, resulting in Grasso getting on top. Grasso landing some good ground-pound now. She takes the back and tries for the rear-naked choke. Shevchenko able to survive that on her knees.
Grasso gets her back to the canvas and gets the body triangle. Grasso working for a crank, but Shevchenko seems ok as she partially turns into her and tries to throw punches. We’re headed to the scorecards!
A highly competitive title rematch here then, with both fighters having their moments on the feet and on the mat. It’s down to the judges to pick between them.
The verdict is in and it’s a split-draw! (48-47, 47-48, 47-47). That means Grasso retains her title and we could be heading for a trilogy fight between the two at some stage in the future.
Looking at the judges scorecards afterwards it emerges that Mike Bell awarded Grasso the final round by 10-8, leading to his 47-47 verdict that prevented Shevchenko from reclaiming her belt.
Grasso certainly had a good final second-half to the final round as she managed to get on top and work ground-and-pound as well as submission attempts, but Shevchenko survived and had appeared to be getting the better of the striking action in the first-half of the round, so Bell awarding a 10-8 to Grasso is definitely controversial.