Valentina Shevchenko Believes Referee Played A Part In Her Loss To Alexa Grasso At UFC 285

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Saikat Banerjee
A wordsmith who indulges in the world of combat sports, Saikat Banerjee is an MMA, boxing, and arm wrestling content writer at The MMA India Show and The Sports Room. Apart from combat sports, he also engages in Indian sports content at The Sports India Show. Currently pursuing an MBA from Jadavpur University, Saikat's other interests lie in motorcycling, working out, and travelling.
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The recently-dethroned Valentina Shevchenko opines that there was some contribution from the referee Jason Herzog in her shock defeat to Alexa Grasso at UFC 285 earlier this month.

In the co-main event at UFC 285, “Bullet” suffered her first loss in over five years against Grasso, ending her nine-fight win streak, as well as her title reign as the UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. The Mexican pulled off a massive upset on the night of 4th March at the T-Mobile Arena, forcing Valentina Shevchenko into submission (face crank) in the fourth round.

It was one of the biggest upsets in MMA in recent years and while Alexa Grasso’s victory was fair and square, Shenvhenko found fault in the referring and during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, the Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian questioned why Jason Herzog forced her to stand up while she had Grasso down on the canvas.

“You asked me how I felt during the fight, and now, thinking about that, I think some kind of small situation, like what happened in the fight could affect performance, or how you feel,” said Shevchenko. “For example, before right now, I never thought about this, but it’s very clear in my mind, a few actions that the referee did in the fight, I completely don’t understand why he did that. Because he was refereeing my two last fights, and first fight, with Taila [Santos] in Singapore, I thought it could be the situation or something like this, but there was a combination where I strike and ended the combination with a head kick, and I felt Taila [got hurt] and I wanted to finish the fight, but he stopped the fight and he let her breathe. I was like, ‘OK, this doesn’t sound right, but maybe it was just the situation.’”

“But in this fight, we were on the ground position, I was in her guard and landing big shots over her, and he just decided to stand us up and continue the striking,” the 35-year-old went on, “it’s kind of the same situation where I say it could affect the fighter, what they do to take their opponent down. They spend so much energy to [score a] takedown first, and second to hold them down, and when you [get a takedown] you definitely want to use the situation because you spend so much energy. And when it was decided, ‘Oh no, in my opinion you don’t have to be there. You have to fight in the stand-up,’ it’s kind of working against you because it affects your performance, because you have to build the situation all over again.”

“It could be a [combination] of all these little situations together, that’s why it happened, what happened at the end. This action is hard to understand for me why it was when it was, because when I watch the fight, it’s not my fault that Alexa couldn’t go out from that position, because I was holding her very tight, and in the moment I started to land big shots, he just decided to stand us up. I don’t know. That’s why I’m saying, for me, it looks kind of surprising. Because yeah, this is my game plan and I want to keep this game plan, but someone says , ‘No, I don’t think it’s your game plan, you have to go up and stand,’ this kind of looks differently,” added Shevchenko.

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