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Friday, September 22, 2023

What’s next for Valentina Shevchenko after split draw?

The inaugural Noche UFC event has come and gone after an exciting night of fights where five of the seven Mexican fighters were able to be victorious on the night. In the headliner, we had a closely contested rematch between the reigning champion Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko. This fight ended in what was a controversial split draw between the two best flyweight fighters that resulted in Grasso retaining her flyweight title.

The first round saw both fighters feeling each other out, with Shevchenko landing some solid kicks and Grasso landing some punches. The second round was where Grasso made her mark, scoring a massive knockdown over Shevchenko with a left hook. Shevchenko was able to recover quickly and continued to land kicks and punches throughout the rest of the fight.

The third and fourth rounds were closely contested, with both fighters landing significant strikes and grappling exchanges. In the fifth and final round, Shevchenko was able to take Grasso down and control her on the ground for a significant amount of time, but was unable to finish the fight.

The judges’ decision to call the fight a split draw was controversial, with many fans and analysts believing that Shevchenko had done enough to win the fight. However, others pointed to Grasso’s knockdown in the second round and her overall performance throughout the fight as evidence that she deserved the victory.

Despite the controversial decision, both fighters showed incredible skill and heart throughout the fight, and many fans are already calling for a third matchup between the two. Only time will tell if that will happen, but for now, the women’s flyweight division remains one of the most exciting and competitive in the UFC. With that said, let’s take a look at who could potentially be next for the former champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Manon Fiorot

Valentina Shevchenko fought Alexa Grasso to a split draw in her last title fight, which took place at Noche UFC this past Saturday night. This leaves the question of who Shevchenko’s next opponent should be. The most deserving contender to fight Valentina Shevchenko for a No. 1 contender is Manon Fiorot. Fiorot is a 32-year-old French fighter with a perfect record of 11-1. She has won six of her fights in the UFC with two of them coming by knockout.

Fiorot is one of the best strikers in the flyweight division and would make for a very compelling matchup against one of the best female strikers that the UFC has to offer Valentina Shevchenko. Fiorot would be looking to solidify herself as the next contender for the flyweight championship if she is able to get past the former flyweight champion Shevchenko. Meanwhile, Shevchenko will need to get back into the thick of things in the flyweight title picture and dominate one of the top contenders in the division.

Alexa Grasso Trilogy

Valentina Shevchenko recently fought Alexa Grasso to a split draw at Noche UFC. This was Shevchenko’s first time ever not winning a fight in two consecutive fights of her career, and it has left the question of who her next opponent should be. The most deserving contender for the flyweight title is Erin Blanchfield, but there is a strong case to be made for giving Shevchenko a rematch against Grasso.

The draw between the two fighters was very controversial. Many people believe that Shevchenko won the fight, and she herself has expressed interest in a rematch as she believes she should be the rightful champion after their third fight against one another. While there are other contenders in the Women’s Flyweight division, they are not as deserving as Shevchenko. Erin Blanchfield, while a rising star, has not yet proven herself to be a title contender as her best win was a closely contested fight against Taila Santos. Manon Fiorot, while on a winning streak, has not yet faced top-level competition. If there was any trilogy that should be made right now, this and only this is the one that almost 100% should be made.

Julianna Pena Bantamweight Title Fight

Valentina Shevchenko is coming off of a split draw against Alexa Grasso in her rematch for the flyweight championship. The most deserving contender for the flyweight title is Erin Blanchfield which is why Valentina Shevchenko may need to look for a fight elsewhere and instead of trying to fight her way back into title contention in the flyweight division, she could just go back to her old weight class in the bantamweight division and fight for the vacant bantamweight championship against Julianna Pena.

Pena is coming off a title loss against the GOAT Amanda Nunes who she was supposed to face at UFC 289 but had to withdraw due to injury. Since that title win for Nunes, she has retired and relinquished the title leaving it up for grabs for the top contenders. Seeing as how Pena was already going to fight Nunes for the belt it is almost a given that Pena will be fighting for the vacant belt but it’s open for discussion who would be challenging opposite her. With there not being a clear No. one contender a fight with Valentina Shevchenko would finally breathe some life back into an aging division.

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