Nicco Montano’s first title defense has been canceled after the UFC women’s flyweight champion was taken to a hospital in Dallas, sources confirmed to MMA Fighting’s Chuck Mindenhall on Friday morning ahead of the UFC 228 weigh-ins. ESPN first reported the news.
The challenger in Saturday’s co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko has also been removed from the event. Jimmie Rivera vs. John Dodson has been promoted to the main card, and Jessica Andrade vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz will be the new co-main event.
Montano’s team provided the following statement to MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi:
She will be fine in a few days. The UFC medical team was called in to evaluate her this morning during the process of her weight cut. They determined that she had to cease cutting weight and be transported to and treated at the local hospital for issues regarding her kidney function.
Montano became the inaugural women’s 125-pound champion last December when she defeated Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale. The victory was the culmination of the 29-year-old’s run through the TUF 26 tournament that saw her earn her spot in the finals by defeating UFC veteran Lauren Murphy, Montana De La Rosa, and former Invicta FC champion Barb Honchak.
Saturday was to mark Montano’s first fight since the finale and first defense of her championship after being sidelined with injuries for the first half of 2018. Facing Shevchenko, a one-time women’s bantamweight title challenger who made a successful move to flyweight in February with a dominant win over Priscila Cachoeira, Montano was listed as a major underdog on most betting sites.