Nicco Montano’s reign as UFC champion lasted less than a year and without a single title defense.
The inaugural women’s flyweight titleholder was scheduled to put her belt on the line against the heavily favored Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228 this Saturday night, but was hospitalized due to health concerns, and never weighed in on Friday. As a result, her bout with Shevchenko was called off, Shevchenko will not remain on the card, and UFC president Dana White confirmed that Montano no longer has the belt.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 7, 2018
“The belt becomes vacated, so the title is vacated,” White said on the UFC 228 weigh-in show on FS1. “Obviously Shevchenko is dying to fight for this title. So we’re in the process right now of trying to make another fight, [and hope to do so] before the end of the year.”
Montano’s team told MMA Fighting that the UFC’s medical team determined that Nicco had “to cease cutting weight and be transported to and treated at the local hospital for issues regarding her kidney function.” She has since been released from the hospital as of Friday afternoon.
The 29-year-old hasn’t fought since defeating Roxanne Modafferi in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, which capped off the 16-woman tournament to determine who’d be the first UFC women’s flyweight champion. Modafferi only got that fight when Sijara Eubanks similarly failed to weigh-in because of weight cutting difficulties, so that means each of the first two scheduled women’s flyweight title fights in UFC history have seen one of the participants fail to weigh-in.
Shevchenko is obviously still getting the next title shot, but it’ll be for a vacant belt and seemingly against a different opponent.
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