The UFC is back in the T-Mobile Arena for a title rematch between former Women's Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko and the newly crowned queen Alexa Grasso. Grasso captured the title in a fourth-round upset victory when she faced Shevchenko earlier this year and brought a championship belt back to Mexico.
This event will take place on Mexican Independence Day to celebrate the incredible athletes of the El Tri, such as Fernando Padilla, Daniel Zellhuber, Tracy Cortez, Lupita Godinez, Raúl Rosas Jr., and, of course, Alexa Grasso.
Let us look at each fight as it appears on the VerdictMMA card.
Two Featherweight hopefuls go head-to-head to open the main card in a classic veteran vs. prospect matchup. Both men are coming off a big win in their previous outings, with Fernando Padilla's being a first-round knockout of Julian Erosa and Kyle Nelson getting the nod from all three judges when he faced Dana White's Contender Series veteran Blake Bilder.
Kyle Nelson is currently 2-4-1 in the UFC with a professional record of 14-5-1 and very well could be competing to keep a UFC contract here. Although slightly excusable, as he has faced some of the best Featherweights, such as Jai Herbert, Billy Quarantillo, and Diego Ferreira, he still desperately needs a big win here to stay in the UFC.
Fernando Padilla is easily one of the best new prospects hailing from Mexico. Padilla is a well-rounded fighter who can get it done anywhere, be it submission, knockout, or dominant decision; Padilla is more than capable.
This fight should be exciting, and a finish is very likely, as only 13 of their combined 39 fights have gone to a decision.
Daniel Zellhuber is a Dana White's Contender Series veteran who was awarded his contract after an exciting back-and-forth win over Lucas Almeida in 2021. In Zellhuber's UFC debut, he fell short on the judges score cards and received his first career loss against Trey Ogden. Zellhuber would return with an impressive win over fan-favorite Lando Vanatta to put himself back in the win column. Currently 1-1 in the promotion, Zellhuber is eager to score his first UFC finish and climb his way to a Lightweight title.
Although relatively unknown to the masses, Christos Giagos has fought the who's who of Lightweights in MMA. In Giagos' UFC debut, he fought Gilbert Burns and lost by submission, which he followed up by going 1-1 and ultimately being let go from the promotion. After an exciting 6 fights on the regional scene, he was back, and this time, against Charles Oliveira. These two names are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the people he's faced: Thiago Moisés, Arman Tsarukyan, Drakkar Klose, Damir Hadžović, Josh Emmett, and Chris Wade, to name a few.
Giagos is no stranger to a knockout or submission and is as well-rounded as they come. Giagos has a record of 20-10 (6-7 UFC) and will look to halt the hype train of the 13-1 Mexican when they meet in the Octagon.
With another classic veteran vs. prospect matchup on our hands, this is a pivotal moment for both men involved.
Raúl Rosas Jr. blasted onto the scene at 17 years old with a dominant win on Dana White's Contender Series, showcasing a mixed arsenal of flashy strikes and slick grappling. However, despite looking unstoppable in his first 7 professional fights, he received his first career loss earlier this year when he faced Christian Rodriguez at UFC 287. Rosas Jr. is an excellent jiujitsu practitioner, finishing 5 of his 7 wins by submission.
Terrence Mitchell is a dominant finisher who has only seen one decision in his 14-year career. Of his 14 wins, 12 are in the first round, with a near-even split of knockouts and submissions. Mitchell made his UFC debut at UFC 290 when he faced South African standout Cameron Saaimon, with Saaimon ultimately getting the KO victory and ending Mitchell's 11-fight finish streak.
Will Mitchell earn his first UFC win and end the hype of Rosas Jr. once and for all, or will Rosas Jr. get back in the win column and back on track to be the youngest champion ever?
Two super exciting Welterweights fill the co-main event spot for this weekend's UFC Fight Night. Kevin Holland is an anywhere, anyone, any time sort of fighter who is known for his flashy knockouts and big mouth. However, Jack Della Maddalena is possibly the most impressive prospect the promotion has right now.
Della Maddalena burst onto the scene after a striking masterclass he dished out on Dana White's Contender Series to secure himself a contract. Della Maddalena was looking unstoppable against everyone he faced; that was, however, until he fought UFC newcomer Bassil Hafez. Della Madalena had been scheduled to face Sean Brady, who subsequently pulled out due to injury, and was instead scheduled to face Josiah Harrell after Harrell had gone viral with a clip of him taking his opponent down through the cage door; however, Harrell did not pass his pre-fight medicals, and Bassil Hafez was given the shot with less than 24 hours notice. Della Madalena struggled with the new matchup, being someone utterly different from who he had trained for, but still narrowly edged the split decision to keep his win streak alive. Della Madalena has only been to 2 decisions of his 17-fight career and is exceptionally well-rounded.
Kevin Holland made his short-notice debut against Thiago Santos in 2018, and since then, he has fought a ridiculous 19 times. When the pandemic came around, Holland was the one fighter who truly seized the opportunity in front of him by using the UFC Apex as a place to make himself a household name among MMA fans. Holland fought 5 times in 2020 and won every one, earning him the record for most wins in a calendar year. Not only has Holland fought a lot, but he has also fought some of the best: Ronaldo Souza, Joaquin Buckley, Derek Brunson, Marvin Vettori, Khamzat Chimaev, Stephen Thompson, Santiago Ponzinibbio, and Michael Chiesa.
Holland has an insane resume for someone who has only been a pro since 2015, with 35 total fights and 21 finishes.
Della Madalena has a huge test ahead of him in Kevin Holland, and if he gets through this, he will solidify himself as a top-level UFC fighter.
The rematch is on! These ladies are officially set to run it back after Alexa Grasso snatched the title from Valentina Shevchenko in a huge upset victory earlier in the year. Grasso entered the bout as a +750 underdog and pulled off the unthinkable with a round 4 submission over the dominant champion.
Shevchenko has ruled the Women's Flyweight division since it was established in 2018, racking up a 9-fight win streak with 4 knockouts, 1 submission, and 4 decisions. Shevchenko secured herself as one of the greatest female fighters ever after the legendary title run she had.
Alexa Grasson seemingly came out of nowhere in 2017 and began her UFC career a little spotty; however, she scrapped together a nice 4-fight win streak to earn a shot at the title and proved all the doubters wrong with an exceptional finish to become a UFC champion.
Grasso's professional record is 16-3 (8-3 UFC), and Shevchenko's is 23-4 (12-3 UFC).
Will Shevchenko regain the title and clarify that she just had an off night, or will Grasso defend and prove she is where she belongs?
What fight are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments below.
Holland/Della Maddalena Over 2.5
Rosas Jr H2H -550