Nicco Montano has her first title defense scheduled and it’s no surprise who her opponent is.
For months, top-ranked women’s flyweight contender Valentina Shevchenko has been hunting for a shot at Montano’s UFC title and she will get her chance when the two fight at UFC 228 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Sept. 8., the promotion officially announced Wednesday.
The bout was first reported to be verbally agreed upon by BJPenn.com.
Montano (4-2) became the inaugural UFC women’s champion at 125 pounds when she won The Ultimate Fighter 26 tournament last year. En route to the title, the 29-year-old knocked off UFC veteran Lauren Murphy, Montana Stewart, former Invicta FC champion Barb Honchak, and 35-fight veteran Roxanne Modafferi.
That last win took place in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale on Dec. 1, 2017, where Montano defeated Modafferi via five-round unanimous decision to become champion.
Since then, Montano has been sidelined dealing with various injuries, but that hasn’t stopped Shevchenko from calling her out in the meantime.
Shevchenko (15-3) has already competed once for a UFC title, falling short by split decision in a five-round fight with women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 215 last September. Despite holding wins over the likes of Holly Holm, Julianna Pena, and Sarah Kaufman, the loss to Nunes prompted Shevchenko to drop down to 125 pounds.
“Bullet” made an impressive debut in her new division in February at UFC Belem, dominating previously unbeaten Priscila Cachoeira and finishing her with a rear-naked choke submission in the second round.