Nicco Montano won the women's flyweight title at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale in December 2017 defeating veteran Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision. Since capturing the inaugural women's 125-pound title, Montano has been sidelined with injuries. She'll put her belt on the line for the first time against former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko on Sept. 8 in the UFC 228 co-main event in Dallas.
Montano (4-2) will enter the fight as the champion and a considerable underdog to Shevchenko. Sports books have Shevchenko as a -900 favorite, but Montano thinks being the underdog is an advantage for her.
“It’s definitely an advantage. The scenario is kind of a win-win for me," said Montano while appearing on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. "I’ve already made history. I’ve done a lot of things, especially opening up this new division. The other scenario is I beat Shevchenko, so it’s definitely a win-win for me. No stress on my shoulders.”
Shevchenko (15-4) made her flyweight debut in February, dominating Priscila Cachoeira at UFC Fight Night 125. She earned a Performance of the Night award for the win and immediately became the top contender in the newly established division.
While oddsmakers have Shevchenko as the heavy favorite heading into the UFC 228 title bout, Montano's used to overcoming the odds. She was seeded No. 14 out of the 16 fighters on The Ultimate Fighter 26 and emerged with the belt. Despite the wide gap in the odds, Montano expects a good fight when the two meet in Dallas.
“I think it will be an entertaining fight for sure."
UFC 228 is headlined by welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who puts his belt on the line against Darren Till.