Since the time that Nicco Montano won the TUF season 26 tournament and gained the title in the women’s flyweight division, she has not been able to defend her championship belt. UFC 228 will be the champion’s first defense as she squares off against no. 1 contender Valentina Shevchenko in Dallas. Her lack of fighting is largely due to chronic health problems that plagued the champion since defeating Roxanne Modaferri back in December.
“My health was my main issue,” Montano stated.
“After I got off the TUF show I went through a number of health issues. Everybody thought I was just hanging out at home when I was literally having a viral infection through my entire body,” Montano continued.
Shevchenko enters the match-up as a heavy favorite over Montano. The champion addressed whether a victory here would solidify her as a contender in the division.
“I’ve already proven that [I belong here],” Montano said.
“After I beat Shevchenko it is just going to show the true people that no matter what the odds are, you can still come out successful and victorious.”
Shevchenko, however, sees a completely different outcome after battling through the bantamweight division.
“This time I will fight in my weight class and I won’t have an opponent bigger or heavier than me,” Shevchenko stated.
“I think this is the biggest difference between last time and this time,” Shevchenko finished.
When asked about her preparation for the fight, Shevchenko really took an individual approach.
“Every time I’m preparing for my fight, it doesn’t matter who is my opponent, I’m preparing on myself 100%.”
Montano and Shevchenko will square off in the co-main event at UFC 228 in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, September 8.