Author: Daniel Guajardo
It’s been nearly a year since the UFC Women’s Flyweight division crowned its first champion. The division has not had a single title match since. There are two sides to the story, and it gets pretty confusing. After winning the belt at “The Ultimate Fighter 26” Nicco Montano suffered a foot injury. She had to have surgery, and this kept out of action for some time.
On February 3rd, 2018, Valentina Shevchenko made her UFC Flyweight debut against Priscila Cachoeira. She made a big statement in this fight, dominating Cachoeira throughout the entire match. Shevchenko finished the fight in the second round and made her case for the first title shot against Montano.
The title fight between Montano and Shevchenko was apparently being set for UFC 226 during International Fight Week. Before the match was set, Montano underwent another surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids. MMA journalist Ariel Helwani and the Flyweight champion were involved in a Twitter dispute after tweets from the journalist reported that the UFC was having booking issues with Montano.
On July 18th, the UFC announced Nicco Montano would defend her title against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228. So now the first Flyweight title defense was set, and the division appeared to be back on track. According to Vegas, Shevchenko was a huge favorite to win, and many saw this as a one-sided fight.
Shevchenko is 15-3 and has fought some of the toughest women in the bantamweight division and has wins over Holly Holm, Julianna Pena, and Sarah Kaufman. She also has two close decision losses to current Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. Nicco Montano is 4-2 in her career. While on “The Ultimate Fighter” she first fought UFC veteran, Lauren Murphy. In the semifinals, she faced the former Invicta FC Flyweight Champion Barb Honchak. Many believed that Honchak was the heavy favorite to win the show. Montano surprised many by pulling out a win. In the finale Montano fought Roxanna Modafferi and won via unanimous decision.
Just hours before she was set to weigh in for UFC 228, Montano was rushed to the hospital with concerns for her safety. She never weighed in for the event. A teammate of Montano told MMAFighting.com that the UFC’s determined she couldn’t cut weight any longer and was sent to the hospital to address her kidney function.
Later that day, UFC President Dana White told TSN that the Flyweight Championship has been vacated. He also stated that Shevchenko will fight an opponent sometime this year for the vacant title. A few possible names are Katlyn Chookagian (11-1), Liz Carmouche (12-6), and even rumors of Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15-2) have surfaced.As of now, the division is once again on hold, and we hope to hear some news soon.