The UFC is celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day with a UFC Fight Night, culminating in a Women’s Flyweight Championship bout.
Alexa Grasso will defend her 125-pound championship against former champion Valentina Shevchenko on September 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday. Additionally, former middleweight title contender Kelvin Gastelum will switch to welterweight to face off against Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Grasso (16-3) won the flyweight championship in March via a surprise submission win over Shevchenko. 29-year-old Grasso, who fights in Guadalajara, Mexico, has five straight wins and is the No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, according to ESPN.
Shevchenko (23-4) is the most dominant flyweight champion in UFC history. He defended the belt seven times before losing to Grasso.
Rakhmonov (17-0) is likely to be the favorite against Gastelum (18-8), who has not fought at 170lbs since 2016. Gastelum missed the weight for a welterweight fight against Donald Cerrone in late 2016 and had to step up 185 pounds. He’s been 5-6 at middleweight since then, but recently told ESPN that he wants to return to welterweight, which he’s long considered his optimum weight class.
Mexican fighters have enjoyed great success in 2023. In addition to Grasso’s title win, Brandon Moreno has established himself as the top 125-pounder fighter in the world at flyweight. Featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez clinched an interim UFC title in February and female bantamweight champion Irene Aldana vied, albeit unsuccessfully, against Amanda Nunes for the UFC title earlier in the month.