Women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano is set to defend her title for the first time at UFC 228 on Sept. 8 against former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko. Montano captured the title by winning The Ultimate Fighter 26 flyweight tournament.
Montano entered the season with a 3-2 record and was seeded No. 14 out of the 16 contestants by UFC matchmakers. She defeated the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, Lauren Murphy and Barb Honchak, to advance to the tournament finals. She captured the title by defeating veteran Roxanne Modafferi in the season finale by unanimous decision.
Prior to entering The Ultimate Fighter, only two of Montano’s fights were at 125 pounds. Her other three bouts took place in the bantamweight division and Montano is open to accepting bouts at 135 pounds after her title fight with Shevchenko.
“Through my amateur career I’ve fought at 135. And my pro career, I’ve fought at 135 until I won the title for King of the Cage at 125. I fought Shana Dobson at 125 also. The rest of my 125 fights were in the TUF house and now the UFC,” Montano said while appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
“135, 125 is where I’m comfortable at. At 135, obviously, I don’t need to make that steep of a weight cut,” she said.
Of course, even if she were to defeat Shevchenko at UFC 228, the UFC isn’t likely to give Montano a fight at bantamweight right away. She’d likely have to make a couple more defenses before the UFC considered any superfight type of bouts at 135 pounds and wouldn’t likely want her in a non-title bout while she holds the title at flyweight.