Noche UFC: Five things we learned
The UFC’s first Mexican Independence Day card was a success. Noche UFC was an outstanding night of fights with a pay-per-view feel and entertaining bouts. It does not get much better for non-pay-per-view events. Now, it is time to dive into the results from Noche UFC and break down the biggest lessons we learned.
Alexa Grasso retains the title in a draw
The Noche UFC main event between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko led to an anti-climatic result as the bout was ruled a draw. In a draw, the champion retains their belt. For all extensive purposes, Grasso got the upper hand since she left with the championship, which is the most important aspect of a title bout.
In reality, this bout should not have been scored a draw. It is unreasonable to award either fighter a 10-8 round and there was not a point deduction–it just does not mathematically work.
That said, a draw is not the worst outcome. Grasso clearly won rounds 2 and 5 while Shevchenko clearly won rounds 1 and 3. That leaves round four as the deciding round. That round was as even as it gets. Verdict MMA scored the round a draw. In addition, on MMA Decisions, media and fans were split down the middle for who should have won the round. In that regard, the outcome of as draw effectively demonstrates how close the fight was.
It is important to note that this was still a great fight; on several occasions, it looked like the bout was going to be finished and it was pretty close for 25 minutes.
Grasso did not get a win on her record at Noche UFC, but it was still a great night for her. The championship belt is the most important thing in MMA and she walked out of the octagon with it.
Valentina Shevchenko still has gas left in the tank
Valentina Shevchenko did not get the result she was hoping for at Noche UFC. That does not mean it was a failure of a night, however. Shevchenko passed the eye test and looked much better than she had in previous bouts.
One of the main narratives entering Noche UFC was Shevchenko’s regression. Personally, I subscribed to that theory and I think it held true. At the same time, Shevchenko proved that she can still hang at the highest level despite showing signs of regression. That is a testament to how good Shevchenko was in her prime. At 35-years-old, she is still an outstanding fighter.
Shevchenko was able to find a lot of success in the grappling realm. It began with Shevchenko’s takedowns. Grasso clearly made improvements in her takedown defense and Shevchenko was not given anything for free, though Shevchenko landed a few really impressive takedowns.
On the ground, Shevchenko racked up a ton of control time and threatened with submissions. On the feet, she was able to outpace Grasso with her jab.
Ultimately, a few bad mistakes cost Shevchenko the title. In the fourth round, she wrongly thought she was a downed opponent and Grasso was able to land knees. In the fifth round, she attempted a throw that gave Grasso her back.
Jack Della Maddalena continues his welterweight rise
In the Noche UFC co-main event, Jack Della Maddalena earned a close decision victory over Kevin Holland. Della Maddalena, one of the best prospects in the welterweight division, is now 6-0 in the UFC.
Della Maddalena did exactly what he needed to do to defeat Holland. The boxer was able to close the distance, get inside and hit Holland with solid shots. On the outside, he stayed safe and dealt with Holland’s length and power.
This was a great victory for Della Maddalena. In his last bout, Bassil Hafez was able to expose some flaws in his skill set, which are still present, but Holland did not look to take advantage of any of them.
Nevertheless, it is a positive for Della Maddalena as he adds a ranked win to his resume. Now, he will be in a position to climb up the welterweight rankings.
Raul Rosas Jr. likes to strike too
Raul Rosas Jr., the youngest fighter in UFC history, got back in the win column at Noche UFC. Rosas Jr. put his hands on full display as he knocked out Terrance Mitchell in 54 seconds.
It was great to see Rosas Jr. utilize his boxing. Thus far into his career, he has impressed with his BJJ. Regardless of how his striking looked, it was nice to see that he had the confidence to strike with someone.
This was the best possible outcome for Rosas Jr. He was put in a position to look outstanding and he took advantage of it.
Tracy Cortez has been improving her boxing
On the Noche UFC prelims, Tracy Cortez got a decision win over Jasmine Jasudavicius. This was an outstanding win for Cortez as she showed more layers in her skill set.
Cortez and Jasudavicius are both great grapplers. Instead of grappling, the pair struck for the large majority of their bout. In those exchanges, Cortez was landing the bigger shots and looked to be the cleaner fighter. That is not to say Jasudavicius did not have moments because she did, but Cortez was still the fighter landing with more consistency.
It is great to see Cortez improve her boxing. As she climbs the rankings, there are matchups that will force her to strike. It is unrealistic to expect her to dominate every fight on the ground. It is always important to have a backup plan.
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