Preview: A Championship Rematch Headlines UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2

It’s not every week you get a free title fight, but that’s exactly what we’ve got with UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 tonight on ESPN+. Some of the best fighters in the world will return to Las Vegas will return for a remarkably exciting free card.

Two of the best female fighters in the world will face off once again as the champ looks to prove that their first meeting was anything but a fluke. Plus, two ranked welterweights will look to stay hot and continue to climb the rankings and one of the fastest-rising young stars in the sport will look to bounce back from his first career loss.

Bantamweight bout: Raul Rosas Jr. vs. Terrence Mitchell

2004 was a big year for the UFC. Georges St. Pierre made his debut, Randy Couture captured the light heavyweight crown for a second time and the Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell rivalry was at its peak. Oh yeah, and Raul Rosas Jr. was born. The 18-year-old has quickly become one of the most interesting fighters in the sport after looking dominant in his UFC debut last year. However, for the first time in his career, we’ll be seeing how he bounces back from a loss as he dropped a decision to Christian Rodgrigues back in April, bringing his record to 7-1. An incredibly dangerous grappler, Rosas is going to want to get this fight to the ground and look to work his world-class submission game.

Terrence Mitchell has a tall task ahead of him in just his second UFC fight, but that also means he has a massive opportunity. Mitchell comes into this fight with a 14-3 record, with eight knockouts and six submissions. Mitchell’s fights have a tendency to end in a hurry. In fact, only one of his 17 career fights has gone the distance nad he hasn’t seen a second round since 2014. Prior to joining the UFC in July, he was riding an 11-fight winning streak, including three straight submissions. His octagon debut did not go as well for him though, as he suffered a knockout at the hands of Cameron Saaiman in just over three minutes. Mitchell is going to have stay composed and keep Rosas at a distance if he is going to have a chance in this fight. One mistake, and this one could be over quickly.

Welterweight bout: Kevin Holland vs. Jack Della Maddalena

Talk about an exciting matchup. Both of these guys are absolute crowd pleasers at the top of their game. Holland is coming off back to back impressive wins – a knockout of Santiago Ponzinibbio and a submission of Michael Chiesa. With his record now standing at 25-9 and holding the 13th spot in the welterweight rankings, Holland has a real opportunity to keep his momentum rolling and vault himself up in this class. Holland is always fun to watch, with creative striking and an incredible toughness putting him in some epic battles and racking up highlights. He can get it done in the grappling game, but given the opportunity, he also loves to stand and bang.

And speaking of guys who are red hot right now, Jack Della Maddalena has won 15 in a row, including his first five in the UFC. His last time out, Bassil Hafez was able to become the first fighter to take Della Maddalena the distance in the octagon, but it still resulted in a split decision victory for the Aussie. With 11 career knockouts, Della Maddalena has proven he is willing to scrap with anyone and with a toughness that matches Holland’s, he typically outlasts them. If these two guys do decide to meet in the center of the octagon and throw hands, this has ‘Fight of the Year’ potential.

Women’s flyweight championship bout: Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko

Alexa Grasso of Mexico trades punches with Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Alexa Grasso of Mexico trades punches with Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan in the UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 285 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 04, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

In March of this year, Alexa Grasso shocked the world when she pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history and took the women’s flyweight championship from longtime champ Valentina Shevchenko. As is typically the case for someone who has been the best in the world for so long, Shevchenko now gets an immediate rematch.

Grasso’s championship victory may have been a big surprise to those watching, but it’s not for a lack of talent. Grasso has been one of the best fighters in the class for a long time, riding a five-fight win streak to her current 16-3 record. She also has some of the best hands in the UFC, in any division, and used that skill to dictate the pace of the first meeting with Shevchenko, which she eventually won by a submission. If she’s going to retain the title, she’s going to have once again use her world-class boxing to keep Shevchenko at range and not let her take this fight to the ground.

In that first meeting, the longtime dominant champion simply looked flat. Shevchenko is typically incredibly light on her feet and mixes up some creative striking with her incredible grappling skills to keep her opponents guessing. Given her long history of that being the case, it would seem more likely that she would come out looking like that as opposed to how she looked her last time out. If that is in fact the case, Shevchenko could make this a very long (or very short) night for the champion and recapture her title. However, if she is even the slightest bit slower than her old self, Grasso will almost certainly take advantage in the striking game.

UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 will be held Saturday, September 16 at 10:00 PM ET. Fight fans can watch live on ESPN+.

Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."