UFC returns back to Calgary, Canada on July 28 with an emphatic card. The card got it’s co-main confirmed earlier in the day as a featherweight barn burner between former featherweight champion Jose Aldo Jr. and Jeremy Stephens is set for the event.
The main event slot however is still open. According to sources, the winner of ultimate fighter season 26 and UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will make her first title defense against former women’s bantamweight title challenger Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko (15-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC).(via Twitter):
The UFC’s long-awaited return to Calgary is officially official. No main event announced, though I’m told the hope is to book Nicco Montaño vs. Valentina Shevchenko for the women’s flyweight title in that spot. Not finalized yet but that’s what they want. https://t.co/yEN7el8vYZ
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 27, 2018
The UFC announced women’s flyweight division back in April 2017. The division was much anticipated as female MMA fighters were finding it difficult to cut back towards Strawweight limit which is of 115 pounds. Immediately in May the tryouts for the season began. The coaches for this season were announced on July 13 with former two-time Bellator and former UFC lightweight champion Eddie ‘the Underground king’ Alvarez and former WSOF lightweight champion Justin ‘the Highlight’ Gaethje were named to coach the teams.
Montano was a member of Team Gaethje and surprisingly was ranked #14 seed out of 16 going into the season. Montano however had one of the best route towards winning the ultimate fighter in the history of the show as she defeated the top 3 ranked seeds of the season in #3 ranked and former Invicta FC women’s bantamweight champion Lauren Murphy, #2 ranked former Invicta FC Flyweight champion Barb Honchak and #1 ranked Roxanne Modafferi.
Valentina Shevchenko on the other hand was always considered light for the women’s bantamweight division. After suffering a razor thin split decision loss to UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 215 in September, the stars were aligned for Shevchenko to make her move to flyweight. Shevchenko was set to fight against UFC newcomer Priscila Cachoeira on February 3, 2018 in her flyweight debut. Shevchenko put up a dominating performance as she landed a whooping 230 significant shots compared to Cachoeira’s 3 before submitting her via rear-naked choke in the second round. As UFC commentator Jon Anik shouted ‘Flyweight division, Welcome to your worst nightmare!’, it was evident that Shevchenko would probably get the title shot.
This would be the first time after April 2017, that a title shot is featured on a card which is not a PPV.
Other Fights on the card include:
Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens (featherweight)
Alexis Davis vs. Katlyn Chookagian (women’s flyweight)
Randa Markos vs. Nina Ansaroff (strawweight)
Dustin Ortiz vs. Mattheus Nicolau (flyweight)
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ion Cutelaba (light-heavyweight)
Hakeem Dawodu vs. Austin Arnett (featherweight)
Jordan Mein vs. Alex Morono (welterweight)
John Makdessi vs. Ross Pearson (lightweight)
Kajan Johnson vs. Islam Makhachev (lightweight)