Since Canelo Alvarez isn’t fighting for another two weeks, the UFC is looking to grab the spotlight in the sporting world on Mexican Independence Day. The UFC will be highlighting a number of Mexican fighters in order to commemorate the holiday, including current UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Alexa Grasso. She will be defending her title against the woman she defeated for the belt, Valentina Shevchenko, and this figures to be a very exciting showdown. Grasso is an underdog per the UFC betting odds despite being the champion, but she should have the crowd at her back.
UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. Shevchenko 2 will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada on Saturday, September 16, 2023. The prelims will start at 7 p.m. ET with the main event getting underway at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
UFC Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Valentina Shevchenko -165
Alexa Grasso +133
In the first meeting between Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko back in early March at UFC 285, Grasso was a heavy underdog by the MMA betting line. Shevchenko had held the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship since December 2018, and she successfully defended that title a record seven times. She was expected to make quick work of Grasso and looked on her way to a decision victory until the fourth round where a couple mistakes allowed the challenger to get under her neck in a choke hold. Shevchenko struggled, but the choke was locked in, and the champion was eventually forced to tap out and watch as Grasso celebrated her first title.
The oddsmakers still expect that Shevchenko will defeat Grasso, but the odds are more narrow than they were earlier in the year. Shevchenko was seen as nearly as dominant as Amanda Nunes, but her reputation has taken a hit over the last year. The former champion only defeated Taila Santos by split decision at UFC 275 in June 2022, and she allowed Grasso to score a submission victory even though Grasso is known for her boxing and not her grappling.
Grasso is five years younger than Shevchenko, and it’s very possible that Shevchenko has just hit the wall. This is about the time we see fighters take a downturn in their careers, and Shevchenko has been fighting for 20 years now. They appear to be pretty evenly matched in terms of body type and reach, so I will go with the younger underdog and current champion.
Pick: Alexa Grasso
Jack Della Maddalena -152
Kevin Holland +123
Welterweight Jack Della Maddalena is seeing his star reach stratospheric proportions. After losing his first two professional fights back in 2016, he has been unbeaten over the last seven years. Maddalena has won 15 straight fights, and he has earned four straight bonuses for his performance. Four of his last five fights only lasted for one round before he finished his opponent, and a win over veteran Kevin Holland would likely push him into the top ten of the division.
Holland is a very experienced fighter at the age of 30. He is 25-9 in his professional career, and he has won both of his fights this year after losing to phenom Khamzat Chimaev and Stephen Thompson at the tail end of 2022.
Both fighters like to stand and trade, but Holland might try another tactic given his background. We might see him opt to take the fight to the ground early and often in order to throw off the rising star, but I don’t think it will matter as Maddalena looks very impressive.
Pick: Jack Della Maddalena
Raul Rosas Jr. -715
Terrence Mitchell +510
Terrence Mitchell has his work cut out for him on Saturday night. He is a heavy underdog per the UFC betting odds against Raul Rosas Jr. after being knocked out in his UFC debut a little more than two months ago. Rosas is 1-1 in his UFC career, but he has been much more impressive and is coming off more rest than his opponent. It’s rare to see big favorites like this lose, so I will roll with Rosas here and look to bet him to finish the fight within the distance too.
Play: Raul Rosas Jr.