Taila Santos expects Valentina Shevchenko to lose Alexa Grasso trilogy bout: ‘I think her time is passing’

Taila Santos knows a thing or two about the elite in the UFC women’s flyweight division, and she thinks Alexa Grasso is here to stay as champion.

Santos, a former UFC women’s flyweight title challenger and now PFL fighter, doesn’t think Valentina Shevchenko will regain her title in her expected championship trilogy against Grasso later this year. The Brazilian believes that Shevchenko’s prime is becoming a thing of the past, and also thinks Grasso has figured her out.

“Alexa,” Santos told MMA Junkie in Portuguese when asked about who’d win the trilogy bout. “I think Valentina, I think her time is passing, and I think before that trilogy she should’ve accepted a fight against me again because she’s losing her grace.

“This is the third fight and Alexa already showed that Valentina has a weak point on the ground. She already finished her and (I thought) she won the second, so I think the trilogy is to just make that definite.”

Santos remains one of Shevchenko’s toughest career fights, as well as her last UFC championship win. The two fought back in 2022 and the fight ended in a split decision favoring Shevchenko.

After the title defense against Santos, Shevchenko went on to get submitted by Grasso in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. They rematch six months later, and they fought to a split draw. Now, Grasso and Shevchenko are coaching this season of The Ultimate Fighter and are expected to fight at the end of the show.

Santos likes what she’s seen from Grasso as champion, but believes she laid the blueprint to beat Shevchenko.

“Alexa Grasso is a very smart athlete and young, too,” Santos said. “After I fought Valentina, she was the next one for the opportunity and I figured that she would watch my fight against Valentina so she can analyze it and look for her weakness. Since I said that her deficiency is on the ground, and that’s where our fight went, she used that.

“She worked at it, she worked at it and was able to take the fight to the ground and finish her there. She must have studied it and looked for the same path, and that’s how she got the finish. (Grasso) is a very smart and tough fighter, and I like her game a lot.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie