Following a historically dominant-performance that ended with a second-round submission win over Priscila Cachoeira at UFC Fight Night 125, it’s obvious that Valentina Shevchenko should be next in line to fight UFC women’s flyweight champion Nicco Montano.
Shevchenko, the former women’s bantamweight title contender, was a heavy favorite entering the fight against Cachoeira. She did not disappoint, out landing her opponent 95-2 in significant strikes and 230-2 in total strikes. It was one of the biggest discrepancies between strike outputs in UFC history. Shevchenko rightfully called for a title shot against Montano in her post-fight speech.
Montano won the inaugural flyweight title with a decision win over Roxanne Modafferi at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale, but from the moment she won the belt the majority of fans and media were already calling her a placeholder champion. Montano has to be given credit for enduring the gruelling grind that is the TUF house. However, when the women’s flyweight division was created most observers figured a bantamweight already in the UFC moving down in weight would hold gold. That former bantamweight would be Shevchenko, who should surpass Sijara Eubanks as the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s official rankings when they come out this week.
There are still some who believe Eubanks should get the title shot she earned on TUF, but the hard truth is she lost her opportunity at the belt the moment she missed weight and was replaced by Roxanne Modafferi. Eubanks has to work her way back up now and it’s clear Shevchenko has now surpassed her in the title shot queue. In my mind, there’s no good argument to be made for Eubanks getting the title shot over Shevchenko anymore.
Others may point to the likes of Lauren Murphy, Jessica Eye and Alexis Davis as potential title contenders, but while all three of them picked up wins in their respective flyweight debuts, they were all decision wins. No one has picked up the kind of destructive victory that Shevchenko earned over Cachoeira, and that one-sided win should be the ammunition “Bullet” needs to leapfrog the other flyweight contenders and get the next title shot.
A potential fight between Montano and Shevchenko isn’t a pay-per-view blockbuster, but it is still a very intriguing matchup and would serve well as the co-main event on a pay-per-view card that already has a title fight on it. It could also potentially headline a Fight Night card. Both Montano and Shevchenko have the potential to be stars for the UFC if they keep winning in impressive fashion, and it just makes too much sense to book this fight next.
Due to a lack of immediate title contenders in a new division plus a one-sided, destructive victory in her flyweight debut, Valentina Shevchenko has jumped over all the other contenders at 125. She has earned her title shot against Montano.
Considering she just came up short against Amanda Nunes for the 135-pound title, there is no doubt Shevchenko will be favored to beat Montano and finally hold UFC gold. But Montano is a very solid, improving fighter herself and won’t go away quietly. This is an intriguing matchup and the UFC needs to book it as soon as they can and keep the momentum of the women’s flyweight division going.
Who would you pick in a potential fight between Nicco Montano and Valentina Shevchenko? Leave a comment below and explain why.