Alexa Grasso plans to fight at Noche UFC with or without Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion Alexa Grasso is gearing up to fight at UFC 306 — recently rebranded as Riyadh Season Noche UFC — with or without Valentina Shevchenko.

Despite coaching against one another for the ongoing season of The Ultimate Fighter 32, Grasso still hasn’t received any assurances that Shevchenko is going to be her opponent on the Sept. 14 card. Shevchenko previously commented that she wasn’t all that excited about fighting on the Mexican Independence Day event again after her previous matchup against Grasso on the Noche UFC card in 2023 ended in a controversial split draw.

Grasso hopes Shevchenko ultimately settles whatever reservations she has against fighting on the Sphere card in Las Vegas, because she’s defending her belt one way or another.

“That’s the plan,” Grasso said. “That’s the fight I would like to happen. I have to be part of Noche UFC. How can I not be part of Noche UFC this year? So I just truly hope she can accept the fight. It’s good for both of us.”

As of now, UFC announced the event along with a partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Season, which serves as the titled sponsor for the card, but no fights have been confirmed.

All signs point to Grasso vs. Shevchenko 3 happening, but the reigning champion at 125 pounds admits even she has no assurances who she’s fighting in September.

If Shevchenko ends up passing on the fight, Grasso expects she will shift her attention to Manon Fiorot, who is the next person in line for a title shot after defeating Erin Blanchfield back in March to move her UFC record to 7-0 overall.

“I think that’s her opportunity too,” Grasso said of Fiorot. “She’s the No. 2 contender and she’s been having a nice winning streak. So just in case if it’s not Valentina, I think it’s going to be Manon.”

As champion, Grasso knows her job boils down to defending the belt against anybody UFC throws at her, so whether it’s Shevchenko or Fiorot, she’s ready to rock in September.

That being said, Grasso hopes Shevchenko comes around and eventually a deal gets inked to put them in the octagon together again for the third and potentially final time.

“It’s a fight I would like to have,” Grasso said. “The trilogy is something I would truly love. Because it will be the first trilogy from women’s MMA. Both were coaches on TUF, I’m from Mexico, she’s from Kyrgyzstan.

“We have a lot of history and I’m truly inspired to be competing with someone at this high, high level.”