Shevchenko (23-4-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC) failed to reclaim her flyweight title from champion Grasso (16-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) when the pair battled to a split draw this past Saturday at Noche UFC.
Whittaker scored the fight in favor of Shevchenko but understands why one of the judges gave the fight to Grasso based on her big moments in the fight.
“I certainly think they started out very wary,” Whittaker said on his MMArcade Podcast. “They started very wary, very respectful of each other’s abilities. I have got to say Shevchenko’s jab is bar none. It was crisp and on point the way she utilized it from Round 1 through Round 5. It was beautiful. She did get dropped in a scrappy fight, but Grasso was finding it hard to close the distance and get into that scrap distance with that jab being so effective. But it was a close fight and honestly I can see the decision swinging both ways.
“Me, personally, if I was to score the fight, I probably would have scored it in Shevchenko’s favor, and I think she won three of the five. But in saying that, though, it wouldn’t have been mind blowing for Grasso to have won because she did have some really strong rounds like the round where she got the knockdown, she finished on Shevchenko’s back. She was pushing, putting a lot of pressure, and pressure is, I feel in MMA at the moment, is being scored very highly.”
Like many, what bothered Whittaker was judge Mike Bell’s scorecard, which cost Shevchenko the fight. Bell gave Grasso a 10-8 in Round 5, which resulted in a draw on his scorecard and a split draw overall in the fight.
“But what I don’t understand is the way it played out,” Whittaker continued. “It wasn’t like it was scored 10-9, 10-9 split both ways, don’t know what’s going on. No, it was that last round, that last round that Mike Bell scored a 10-8 in Grasso’s favor, and that is mind blowing.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Noche UFC.