The UFC’s return to Sacramento is beginning to take shape.
On the July 13 card, former UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano meets Sara McMann at 135 pounds; strawweight contender Cynthia Calvillo fights former Invicta FC champ Livinha Souza in a strawweight contest; and veteran featherweight Darren Elkins faces jiu-jitsu ace Ryan Hall at featherweight.
UFC officials announced the three pairings Tuesday. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported Calvillo vs. Souza.
Montano has been out of action since she won the inaugural women’s 125-pound title against Roxanne Modafferi in December 2017. She was scheduled to fight Valentina Shevchenko, who now holds the title, last September, but was forced out of the fight just days before due to health issues.
More recently, Montano tested positive for a banned substance in a USADA drug test. The UFC’s anti-doping partner determined the failed test was a result of a contaminated supplement, so Montano was suspended six months retroactive to this month. The McMann fight will mark her first outing in the bantamweight division since her second pro fight in 2016.
McMann has also been sidelined for a while. In her last fight, the 38-year-old was submitted by Marion Reneau at UFC on FOX 28 in February 2018. The loss extended her skid to two in a row. McMann, who fought Ronda Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title in early 2014, is 3-2 in her last five dating back to the beginning of 2016.
After suffering her first pro defeat at the end of 2017, Calvillo has won two in a row. The San Jose native is coming off a decision win over Cortney Casey earlier this year. Casey is 5-1 in the UFC and also holds a notable win over Joanne Calderwood, currently a top contender at 125 pounds.
Brazil’s Souza made her UFC debut last year, submitting Alex Chambers early in the first round at UFC Sao Paulo. She followed that impressive performance up with a split-decision victory over Sarah Frota in February. Souza, 28, held the Invicta FC strawweight title for a little over a year beginning in 2015.
After a six-fight stretch of wins from 2015 to 2018, Elkins has lost two in a row. In his last outing, “The Damage” fell to former title challenger Ricardo Lamas by third-round TKO last November. Prior to that, he lost to Alexander Volkanovski, currently ranked No. 1 in the division just behind champ Max Holloway. The longest winning streak of Elkins’ UFC career was highlighted by a comeback win over Mirsad Bektic and a submission of Michael Johnson, as well as a split-decision nod over Dennis Bermudez.
Hall is coming off a “Submission of the Year” candidate win over former lightweight and welterweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn at UFC 232 last December. Before that, Hall hadn’t fought since late 2016, when he beat Gray Maynard in a one-sided decision. Hall won The Ultimate Fighter 22 in 2015.
UFC Sacramento takes place at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. The card does not yet have an announced main event.