Valentina Shevchenko explains how referee Jason Herzog played a role in her UFC 285 loss to Alexa Grasso: “This action is hard to understand for me”

By Cole Shelton - March 27, 2023

Valentina Shevchenko believes referee Jason Herzog played a role in why she lost to Alexa Grasso at UFC 285.

Valentina Shevchenko

In the co-main event of the pay-per-view card, Shevchenko suffered an upset submission loss to Grasso to lose her belt. It was a big upset and a surprise, and although Grasso won fair and square, Shevchenko questions why Herzog stood her up after having Grasso on the ground.

“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,” Shevchenko said on The MMA Hour. “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.’

Valentina Shevchenko

“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,” Shevchenko continued. “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.”

Valentina Shevchenko says her game plan was to take Alexa Grasso down and hold her which is why she was surprised Herzog stood them up. Although she doesn’t think that is why she lost, she does believe it played a role.

“It could be a [combination] of all these little situations together, that’s why it happened, what happened at the end,” Shevchenko said. “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.”

Even though Shevchenko lost her belt, she is confident she will defeat Grasso in the rematch when it happens.

What do you make of Valentina Shevchenko thinking Jason Herzog played a role in her UFC 285 loss?

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Alexa Grasso UFC Valentina Shevchenko