Viviane Araujo and Alexa Grasso topped UFC Vegas 62 on Saturday, with the promotion returning to action after a week-long absence, and just a week out from the much more anticipated UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.
An underwhelming card on paper, UFC Vegas 62 had a headliner that was nevertheless relevant to the women’s 125lb division, though neither woman was likely to snag a title shot with a win.
Early on in Saturday’s main event, Grasso and Araujo traded strikes, mainly single strikes, with Grasso adding a high kick, and Araujo attacking her opponent’s lead leg. As the round wore on, the exchanges had a little more volume to them, with two or three strikes from each fighter. The volume then dropped again, back to an exchange of jabs. Near the two minute mark, Grasso changed levels for a takedown, mixing things up, but the attempt was stuffed.
Late in the round, Grasso doubled up on her jab, but Araujo drove forward, shot the takedown, and had to contend with Grasso reversing. The pair were right back up to the feet and closed out the round on the fence.
Round two saw Araujo open with a kick, while Grasso loaded up with her hands. Grasso showed plenty of lateral movement, then fired a big right hand and missed — or more accurately, Araujo wasn’t there to be hit. This time, the takedown from Araujo was landed with more than half the round remaining. Grasso was active off her back, trying to create a scramble, but Araujo stayed on top, in side control. Araujo nearly took mount as Grasso turned, but the Mexican fighter managed to regain half-guard.
When they got back to the feet, it was a firefight for a bit, with both fighters landing prior to the end of the stanza.
The third frame opened at a more measured pace, perhaps a good idea, as both women were competing in a five-round fight for the first time. Grasso worked her jab and ripped the body; Araujo landed a jab to the body herself moments later. Grasso would go to the body more than once in the ground. She’s also land a spinning back fist as Araujo went on the attack, as the aggression picked up later in the third. Araujo appeared light on her feet, and flashed a front kick late in the frame. Grasso attacked the legs, and kept her hands busy, landing a 1-2 in the final 20 seconds that was answered by an Araujo right, then another.
With both women entering the first fourth round of their careers, a lot of attention would be paid to their respective gas tanks. It was a somewhat slower pace to start the fourth, with the pair trading up top. Araujo connected with a right, while Grasso had her own right hand cocked at times, while keeping her guard high and tight at others. A right for Grasso landed near the two minute mark. She was on the outside, content to play the counter-striking game.
The fifth and final round was an opportunity perhaps for one fighter to put their stamp on a close fight. Neither would really full far ahead of the other, however. Instead, Grasso loaded up on her right hand, taking some heavy swings throughout the round, leading with the jab. Araujo would shoot for a takedown just ahead of the three minute mark, but Grasso stuffed the attempt. That was a concern for Araujo, who had no luck with takedowns in the final two frames. They would break, return to center, and Grasso would chop Araujo’s leg while eating a punch in return. At the end of the round, Grasso would land at least one heavy blow, with Araujo answered by tying things up, trying in vain to get the fight down one last time.
Come the scorecards, it was Grasso getting the nod, having led in pretty much every stand-up category. Araujo, meanwhile, was stymied on takedowns for the most part, outside of the second round.
Official Result: Alexa Grasso def. Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)