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Shevchenko v Grasso UFC 285 betting picks – March 4, 2023

Shevchenko UFC betting

Valentina Shevchenko v Alexa Grasso

Latest Odds & Fight Info

Main Event odds Shevchenko -666.67 at Bovada | Grasso +450 at Bovada
When Saturday, March 4 – main card from 7pm PST
Where T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

The UFC 285 co-main event from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas pits the long-reigning women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko against her latest challenger, Alexa Grasso. Shevchenko is one of the most accomplished women in combat sport and Grasso will be hoping to spring a monumental upset and steal her throne.

Valentina Shevchenko (23-3-0) has ruled over the women’s flyweight division since December 2018. Her legacy includes seven successful title defences against all comers, and her only defeats in recent years have occurred when she has moved up to challenge Amanda Nunes at bantamweight. Such is her dominance at 125 pounds that Shevchenko has struggled at times to find credible opponents during her career.

The Russian combines boxing, kickboxing, taekwondo and judo, leaving few holes in her arsenal. She is also a fierce competitor with a warrior spirit and brings an intensity to her bouts that few competitors can match. Shevchenko has been fighting in one form or another since she was 15 years old, giving her over 20 years’ worth of high-level combat experience.

Shevchenko did struggle at her most recent title defence against Brazilian Taila Santos and only won via split decision after spending long portions of the fight on her back. At age 34, the end of the road might now be in sight. The Russian did appear a little rattled when Santos got in her face and afforded her no respect from the opening bell. This is how dominant champions can be defeated — first psychologically, then physically.

Alexa Grasso (15-3-0) steps to take a fight that few other women’s flyweights are willing to accept. She brings strong form with four straight victories over credible opponents her name. This should translate to some degree of confidence despite her long odds. Grasso lacks knockout power but is a busy fighter who knows how to earn a decision victory. Two of her past five victories have come via submission, and she might have a slight edge in this facet of the fight.

Grasso has a boxing and BJJ background and lacks the wide talent-base of Shevchenko. Her best chance is to hang with the champ for the first round or two and then either try to overwhelm her with high volume in the latter rounds or land takedowns and maintain positional dominance. Grasso scored a quick submission win over Joanne Calderwood in March 2022, showing her ability to capitalise on grappling opportunities when presented.

Grasso will need to demonstrate the same opportunism here if the upset is to be secured. She has never been knocked out, which augurs well for her ability to survive five rounds. The American needs to impose her will on the contest and implement her gameplan rather than fight reactively. If her mind is strong and she survives the expected early onslaught, UFC gold may be heading to her trophy cabinet.

It is always hard to tip against a dominant champion such as Shevchenko; she has proven herself repeatedly at the highest level. But after her fortunate escape against Santos, there is a chance her aura of invincibility may have recently dimmed. All champions eventually face their moment of truth, so we are cautiously tipping Grasso to cause the boilover.

Alexa Grasso to win


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