The UFC returned to the T-Mobile Arena this past weekend for Noche UFC, as the event was built around Mexican Independence Day. All week the event had a big event feel to it, with the only unfortunate factor being that it didn’t take place in Mexico.
That wasn’t the only unfortunate outcome by the end of the night though, as the title fight main event between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko ended in a draw. The Mexican contingent will likely take this as a win though as Grasso keeps the belt, but there were many talking points to the controversial decision. Let’s take a look at what could be next for the winners.
The only reason I will be matchmaking for Grasso on the winners side is because she retained the title. That is one thing I disagree with in MMA, when there is a draw in a title fight, why does the champion get to keep the title, should it not become vacant? But that’s a discussion for another day.
What would a championship main event be without controversy? I don’t think it’s possible. Both women had their moments in this fight and put on a great show for the packed out T-Mobile. Grasso dropped “Bullet” Shevchenko in the 2nd round but couldn’t finish the fight, and it seemed like that moment would prove to be pivotal as Shevchenko took over in the succeeding rounds.
The UFC broadcast team even mentioned when going into the final round that Grasso likely needed a finish to retain her title. The challenger came out strong in the final round and controlled the exchanges for around the first two minutes. The championship mentality of Grasso started to shine though as she began to push for a finish and managed to get the fight to the ground where she looked to wrap up a few submissions. But nothing was doing and the fight ended with Shevchenko likely being the one on top over five hard rounds.
As Bruce Buffer began reading out the judges scorecards, it almost felt as though there was a weird feeling in the air. He proceeded to announce that the bout had ended in a split draw, which at the time, felt fine. Both women had their moments in the fight and it was a closely contested 25 minutes. But then the judges scorecards were released and that’s where the problem surfaced.
Mike Bell decided that he saw enough in round five to award Alexa Grasso a 10-8 round. Mike Bell may have been the only person on plant Earth that believes that round justified a 10-8. There was more of an argument that Valentina Shevchenko won the final round than Alexa Grasso scoring a 10-8. Because of Bell’s pathetic scoring, the fight ended in a draw and we’re back to square one.
Because of that, there seems to be only one sensible outcome to this, and that is a trilogy fight between the two flyweight’s.
Grasso’s Next Fight: Valentina Shevchenko
Jack Della Maddalena
Della Maddalena picked up the biggest win of his career thus far, against Kevin Holland. Once again, the 27-year-old exhibited almost perfect boxing against someone in Holland who is very awkward to deal with.
I think Della Maddalena is now in a position where he could co-main event big PPV cards or headline Fight Night’s. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before the Aussie is fighting inside the top five of the rankings.
A fight that I think could be a good one for him next is Geoff Neal. “Handz of Steel” was supposed to be fighting another upcoming talent in Ian Garry recently, but Neal pulled out. Because of where he sits in the rankings though, he is going to have to defend it at some point.
Maddalena’s Next Fight: Geoff Neal
Raul Rosas Jr
The youngest fighter on the UFC roster bounced back from his first professional loss with another first round victory.
It is likely that Rosas Jr’s ascent up the rankings will be a slow one, as he still has a hell of a lot of time in the sport. He showed clear holes in his game in his loss to Christian Rodriguez, but showed this past weekend why he is such an exciting talent.
I would like to see the Mexican take on Ronnie Lawrence for his next fight.
Rosas Jr’s Next Fight: Ronnie Lawrence
Another Mexican that picked up a very impressive victory was Daniel Zellhuber. “Golden Boy” picked up his second win in a row against the very experienced Christos Giagos.
The submission marked just the third of his 15 fight career, showing he has finishing capability wherever the fight ends up. Excitingly, he is in a division that is deep full of talent.
Zellhuber has shown in his last few fights that there are a few areas he needs to work on, and that’s why I don’t think he’ll be pushed up the rankings fast. Drakkar Klose is an opponent that could make sense for him next.
Zellhuber’s Next Fight: Drakkar Klose
Kyle Nelson continues to pull off upset victories. In his last two fights, he has been +230 and +205 underdog, winning both times.
This time he caused the upset against the Mexican, Fernando Padilla. The fight was definitely close, but all three judges agreed that Nelson won the last two rounds, with Sal D’Amato giving him all three rounds.
Kyle Nelson vs Lucas Almeida could be a fun fight for as long as it’d last.
Nelson’s Next Fight: Lucas Almeida