UFC news, rumors: Valentina Shevchenko to challenge Nicco Montano for flyweight title
We will finally see the women's flyweight title defended by the inaugural champion
Last December during "The Ultimate Fighter 26" Finale, Nicco Montano made history when she became the inaugural women's flyweight champion. The problem since then has been that, due to complications recovering from a foot injury suffered during her title win, she has been unable to defend the championship. Well, that's about to change soon, as she'll be putting that title on the line against one of the more dangerous women in the UFC.
Nicco Montano vs. Valentina Shevchenko set for UFC 228
The UFC officially announced on Wednesday that, at UFC 228 in Dallas on Sept. 8, Montano will be defending her flyweight championship against a newcomer to the division, Valentina Shevchenko. This is the fight that has been expected for a while, and now we have a set time and location in place.
Shevchenko will be challenging for UFC gold for the second time in her career, and unlike her first opportunity, most expect her to emerge victorious this time. The native of Kyrgyzstan had previously competed in the bantamweight division, and after unsuccessfully challenging Amanda Nunes for the championship at UFC 215 last September, Shevchenko made her flyweight debut at UFC Fight Night 125 this past February. Shevchenko defeated Priscila Cachoeira via submission in the second round, but she decimated her opponent from start to finish. It was a brutal fight to watch take place, and it just convinced everyone that much more that Shevchenko should have an easy time becoming the queen of the flyweight division.
Will that be the case? We're finally going to find out come UFC 228 in Dallas. While the championship match between Shevchenko and Montano is now confirmed, it will not serve as the main event on Sept. 8. The final bout for the night has yet to be determined.
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More UFC news, rumors
- The legendary Anderson "The Spider" Silva will be eligible to return soon. ESPN's Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday that Silva received a one-year suspension retroactive to October 2017, of course meaning he can return to the Octagon this October. Last November, Silva was scheduled to face upcoming middleweight championship challenger Kelvin Gastelum but was pulled from the bout when he failed a drug test. It's been deemed, however, that the test was contaminated, so the former middleweight champ can get back to work soon.
- The rumored Bellator welterweight tournament for later this year was confirmed on Tuesday. Bellator officials announced the tournament during a news conference for the DAZN streaming service, with the festivities set to begin on Sept. 29 pitting Douglas Lima against Andrey Koreshkov. Nine of the 10 participants were also revealed, with notable names such as current welterweight champ Rory MacDonald, Lima and Jon Fitch set to take part. Two qualifying matchups will also take place to shrink the field down to eight competitors. On Wednesday, some big news hit the wire that Paul Daley had signed a new contract with Bellator, meaning the long-awaited showdown with Page is now in the cards.
- Whether a good idea or not, former UFC star Chris Leben will be returning to fighting. Not only will he be competing again, but he'll be doing so without gloves. Leben announced on his Instagram on Tuesday that he'll be taking on another former UFC fighter, Phil Baroni, for the World Bareknuckle Fighting Federation on Oct. 20. In 2016, Leben attempted to return to the cage to fight for Bellator, but a severe heart condition that was found nixed those plans. Leben tells MMA Junkie, however, that his health has significantly improved over the past couple years, allowing him to return to competition.
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