Report – Ex-flyweight champion Nicco Montano released from the UFC

Montano
Mandatory Credit: Josh Hedges – Zuffa LLC

Inaugural UFC flyweight champion, Nicco Montano has been released from her contract with the promotion, following the recent cancellation of her UFC Vegas 33 bout with Wu Yanan at the UFC Apex facility last weekend. 

Montano, 32, was set to meet with Team Oyama trainee, Yanan at UFC Vegas 33 last Saturday however, at the official weigh-ins, the Arizona native tipped the bantamweight scales by seven pounds — landing at 143lbs or the sanctioned matchup. As a result, the pairing was officially shelved, with Wanan removed from the card subsequently. News of Montano’s release was initially reported by MMA Fighting.

Featuring under the promotion’s banner for four years, Montano scored the inaugural flyweight championship at The Ultimate Fighter 26 finale against veteran contender, Roxanne Modafferi. The victory followed prior successes against incoming title challenger, Lauren Murphy, as well as Montana De La Rosa and Barb Honchak on the reality show. 

Slated to meet with current undisputed flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228 in September 2018 in her first attempted title defence, Montano was hospitalised before the official weigh-ins suffering from the effects of weight-cutting.

Stripped of the title as a result, Shevchenko would go on to challenge former undisputed strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the vacant championship — prevailing with a unanimous decision triumph.

In the time since Montano has been limited to just one Octagon outing. Returning to the bantamweight division for a UFC Fight Night Sacramento pairing with short-notice replacement, incoming title chaser, Julianna Pena, Montano suffered a unanimous decision defeat.

In April of 2019, it emerged that Montano had been slapped with a six-month retroactive USADA suspension after an in-competition test sample had returned a positive test result for the banned substance, ostarine. 

In February of last year, Montano was slated to feature against Macy Chiasson, until an injury ruled her from proceedings. Three failed appearances against one-time foe, Julia Avila were also cancelled amid positive COVID-19 test results and travel restrictions. Prior to her cancelled bout with Wanan, Montano was pulled from a UFC Vegas 18 matchup against Karol Rosa in February.

Holding a 4-3 professional record from seven separate outings, Montano has bested the likes of the aforenoted, Modafferi as well as promotional flyweight, Shana Dobson during her career. In October of 2016, Montano won the KOTC flyweight title with a fourth round knockout win over Jamie Milanowski. 

Speaking with UFC Arabia reporter, Farah Hannoun before reports emerged detailing Montano’s release, UFC president, Dana White claimed that he wasn’t sure if mixed martial arts was the right sport for Montano to compete in.

I don’t know off the top of my head but like over three or four of her (Nicco Montano) fights have been cancelled,” White said. “I think that no matter what weight class you pet her at, she seems to have a hard time making weight. This might not be the sport for her.

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