Jessica Andrade tried to save the day in Dallas.
Booked to face Karolina Kowalkiewicz in a strawweight bout at UFC 228 Saturday night, the Brazilian fighter told the media at the post-fight press conference that she volunteered to replace flyweight champion Nicco Montaño against Valentina Shevchenko.
Montaño was set to defend her 125-pound belt for the first time in the co-main event in Dallas, but was hospitalized Friday morning. Andrade, who competed at 135 pounds earlier in her UFC career, said that the local athletic commission didn’t allow her to move up in weight and face Shevchenko.
“I even offered to fight for the belt if they agreed to, but since they had already weighed me and done all the work, I wasn’t allowed by the athletic commission,” Andrade said, “But I’m happy I was able to help the promotion, help the UFC with a great show and excite people.”
In the end, UFC president Dana White said Montaño was stripped of her title and Shevchenko will be booked in a title fight later this year. As for Andrade, she entered the Octagon against Kowalkiewicz and won by knockout in less than two minutes.
“I think that’s my job, to go in there and excite everyone who’s watching,” Andrade said. “To give my best and knock people out, and that’s what I did tonight.”