The second UFC women’s flyweight title fight will take place in the UFC 228 co-main event at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on Saturday. Champion Nicco Montano takes on former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko in her first title defense.
Shevchenko (15-3) has three losses on her record and two are to 135-pound champion Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko lost a razor-close split decision to Nunes at UFC 2015 last September and dropped down a weight class. In her 125-pound debut, the 30-year old fighting veteran annihilated Priscila Cachoeira to fast track a second UFC title shot. But this time, things are much different for the accomplished striker.
“The biggest difference is this time I will fight in my weight class. I will not have a fight with some opponent that’s bigger than me, heavier than me, and facing an opponent up there at 135. This time it will be exact same size opponent as me, so I think this is the biggest difference between last time and this time,” said Shevchenko heading into her second UFC title bout.
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Since the creation of the women’s flyweight division, fighters who cut excessive amounts of weight to make 115 pounds are moving up in weight class and the smaller bantamweights are dropping down from the 135-pound division. Shevchenko sees exciting possibilities in the division’s future.
“I’m happy that the UFC finally decided to create one more weight division for females,” she said.
Shevchenko is heavily favored by oddsmakers heading into the bout with Montano, and for good reason. She has much more experience than the champion. She’s faced the best in the world at bantamweight and only came up short on one judge’s scorecard from being the 135-pound titleholder. Now, “Bullet” has taken aim at the flyweight belt.
“My plan is to do what I have to do. My goal is to win the fight no matter what I have to do. I’m preparing for everything,” she said. “I’m here to do my job, to do what I have to do, and take what I have to take.”