The UFC returns to T-Mobile Arena this Saturday for a highly anticipated event on Mexican Independence Day.
At UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Shevchenko 2, the UFC’s only current Mexico-born champion, Alexa Grasso, will defend her flyweight title in a rematch against the division’s all-time great Valentina Shevchenko. The undercard is filled with exciting talent out of Mexico and features one of the hottest prospects to come out of Dana White’s Contender Series.
Raul Rosas Jr. caught the attention of UFC President Dana White last September, after picking up a unanimous decision victory over The Ultimate Fighter Season 31 contestant Mando Gutierrez. The win earned him a UFC contract at just 17-years-old.
Three months later, Rosas Jr. lit up the T-Mobile Arena with an electrifying first round submission against Jay Perrin. Despite being the youngest fighter on the UFC roster, Rosas Jr. made it look like he’d been competing in the Octagon for years.
“I’m able to handle this because I kind of already lived through it,” Rosas Jr. said. “It’s just a dream coming into reality. I already visualized myself being here, being in these big fights, and now it’s just coming into reality. I’m just excited to see what the future has for me because I know the best days are ahead of me.”
“When I made my debut, there was a lot of Mexican flags, so I can only imagine [what it’ll look like] Saturday night on Mexican Independence Day.”
UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Shevchenko 2, also known as Noche UFC, features over a handful of athletes fighting out of Mexico, including the champion herself, so not only is it a big night for Rosas Jr. to showcase his own talent, but the card shines a massive light on the growth and prominence of mixed martial arts in Mexico.
“It says a lot [about MMA in Mexico],” Rosas Jr. said. “Usually on this day they have a boxing event and Canelo Alvarez fighting, so you can see how the sport is growing [and] the Mexican fanbase is growing. They’re starting to realize how much talent can come out of Mexico so Saturday night, they’ll see how [passionate] T-Mobile Arena gets.
“I appreciate the opportunity to also join the card with all these Mexican fighters and all this Mexican talent and be able to join them on this special day to go put on a performance for all our people.”
The last time Rosas Jr. competed in the Octagon, UFC 287: Pereira vs Adesanya 2, “El Niño Problema” suffered his first professional loss against Christian Rodriguez. It’s very rare in MMA to rise through the rankings and maintain a perfect record, so this setback isn’t the end of the world.
If anything, the 18-year-old figured out what elements of his game are underdeveloped. He took all that information with him into his latest training camp to correct the mistakes that plagued him in April.
Get To Know 18-Year-Old Raul Rosas Jr.
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Get To Know 18-Year-Old Raul Rosas Jr.
“[There was] a lot of mistakes that I made during the fight,” Rosas Jr. said. “I went back to the drawing board. I corrected every single mistake; the pace, trying to get the finish, the gameplan, the strategy. All those things were corrected and now I’m more experienced.”
At Noche UFC, Rosas Jr. hopes to show those improvements against Terrence Mitchell. Despite only competing in one UFC fight, Mitchell has double Rosas Jr.’s professional fighting experience.
“Respect to Terrence Mitchell,” Rosas Jr. said. “He’s a very experienced fighter so I’m glad I get to face him and show my skills against an experienced fighter and finish him because it will show everything I’ve improved.
“I think I’ll shine everywhere. I expect a lot from him; I know he has a lot of finishes in the first round. I [also] have a lot of finishes in the first round, so I know we’re both going to be looking for the finish and it’s going to be a war.”
UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs Shevchenko 2 took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 16, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!