LAS VEGAS – Alexa Grasso was taken off guard by Valentina Shevchenko’s comments after their first fight.
Back in March at UFC 285, Grasso (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) pulled one of the biggest upsets of 2023, submitting Shevchenko (23-4 MMA, 12-3 UFC) to take her UFC women’s flyweight title. After the fight, Shevchenko was very vocal in emphasizing how it was her wrongdoing that caused her to lose the belt more than Grasso’s effort.
The Mexican champion couldn’t disagree more with Shevchenko’s outlook.
“It just kind of surprised me because someone with such big experience and competing at such high level, we know that there are no accidents,” Grasso told MMA Junkie at the Noche UFC media day on Wednesday. “I trained for that moment. You can see the video that I have before the fight. I was training that exact same position. It was something that I trained to win that fight.”
Both Grasso and Shevchenko fight again in an immediate rematch this Saturday at T-Mobile Arena. The women’s flyweight championship bout headlines Noche UFC, an event created by the UFC to celebrate Mexican Independence Day.
Now entering the fight as a champion and not a challenger, Grasso has made an effort, along with her team, to stay honest and aware of the challenge they have ahead. They respect Shevchenko, but they have every intention of retaining the title.
“Thanks to my team and my coaches, they’re always trying to keep me focused, ‘Yeah, you’re the champion, but you’re just one more in the gym. You have to help your teammates. You have to evolve. You have to be here on time. You have to do everything we ask you to do and more.,'” Grasso said.
“I think the most important thing at this high level is to keep motivated, to keep the hunger, and do my best to evolve and improve.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Noche UFC.