Valentina Shevchenko apologizes to fans, questions Nicco Montano’s character

Valentina Shevchenko recently said she wouldn’t count on fighting UFC women’s flyweight champ Nicco Montano until she stood across from her in the octagon.

When Montano (4-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was pulled today from their pay-per-view co-headliner at UFC 228 over medical concerns, it didn’t come as a shock to the title challenger.

“I told it before, she can pull out from the fight at anytime,” Shevchenko (15-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) wrote in a statement released via Instagram after her bout’s cancelation. “She was trying to avoid this fight several times already. It is my (third) preparation for this fight.

“Looks like it was her plan from the beginning, to show up for the fight week, to build up her name, speak confident and secure, and then escape from the fight in the last minutes.”

It’s not the first time Shevchenko, 30, has accused Montano, 29, of dodging a fight with her. Earlier this year, she fumed at the delay in setting up a title fight following a dominant win over Priscila Cachoeira. She also claimed Montano had offers on the table for specific dates.

Montano eventually stepped to her own defense, revealing a struggle with a persistent foot injury and an infection that resulted in a tonsillectomy.

Today, Monatano’s team told MMAFighting.com that she was pulled from the fight over her kidney function. Multiple attempts to reach the fighter and her camp were unsuccessful.

In the wake of Montano’s withdrawal, Shevchenko sternly criticized her would-be opponent and apologized to fans who showed up to see her fight.

“She was speaking about fighting spirit and character… what kind of fighting sprit is she talking about?” Shevchenko wrote.

The canceled bout represents the second time she’s seen a title bout evaporate in the 24 hours prior to an event; at UFC 213, her shot at the women’s bantamweight belt against champ Amanda Nunes was called off when Nunes suffered an attack of sinusitis.

A UFC official said it’s currently unknown whether Shevchenko will receive any compensation for the canceled bout.

For more on UFC 228, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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