There will not be a second title fight Saturday.
UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montaño was hospitalized Friday morning prior to official weigh-ins and her title defense against Valentina Shevchenko has been pulled off the UFC 228 card Saturday, sources confirmed with MMA Fighting. ESPN was the first to report the news.
It remains unclear what Montaño’s condition was when she headed to the hospital, but the timing fits with something related to an illness due to weight cut.
The UFC released a statement on the matter Friday morning, making the title fight cancellation official.
“As a precautionary measure, UFC flyweight Nicco Montaño was transported to a medical facility Friday morning due to health concerns,” the statement read. “The scheduled championship bout between Montaño & Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228 has been cancelled.”
Shevchenko will not fight a replacement on the card, sources said. A request for comment from Montaño’s team was not immediately returned.
Montaño (4-2) won the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title fight at the TUF 26 Finale over Roxanne Modafferi last December by unanimous decision. She has yet to defend the belt, dealing with injuries and illnesses throughout 2018. Montaño, 29, beat Lauren Murphy, Montana De La Rosa and Barb Honchak on the TUF season to earn a shot in the first title fight.
Shevchenko (15-3) was a heavy favorite coming into this fight and was, for many, thought to be the champion in waiting. The Kyrgyzstan native is a former UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger and multiple time former Muay Thai world champion. Shevchenko, 30, dropped down to 125 in February and mauled Priscila Cachoeira, winning by second-round submission.
The UFC 228 card will move forward with 13 fights. The main event — a UFC welterweight title fight between Tyron Woodley and Darren Till — is official and will proceed Saturday. It’s unclear what fight will be moved to the co-main in the absence of Montaño vs. Shevchenko.