The opening odds for the upcoming women’s flyweight title bout at UFC 228 between champion Nicco Montano and challenger Valentina Shevchenko were recently released by the offshore sportsbooks, and here they are:
UFC 228 Opening Odds
Saturday, September 8 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas
Valentina Shevchenko -675
Nicco Montano +450
And here are my initial thoughts on this bout:
After a lot of cat-and-mouse in getting this fight officially signed, Montano will finally defend her title when she takes on the No. 1 contender in Shevchenko, and it looks like a mismatch. Shevchenko has been utterly dominant since moving down to flyweight after a great run as a bantamweight while Montano hasn’t fought in nearly a year since winning the belt. As such, the line opened with Montano as one of the biggest champion underdogs in MMA history.
Shevchenko (15-3) had just a 3-2 record as a bantamweight, but remember, she beat Holly Holm, Julianna Pena and Sarah Kaufman and both of her losses were razor-thin defeats to the champion Amanda Nunes. After deciding the move down to 125lbs was her best chance to win a UFC title, Shevchenko absolutely destroyed Priscila Cachoeira in one of the worst beatdowns we have seen in a long time. In that fight, Shevchenko showed off her well-rounded game as she has a terrific striking attack to go along with a dominant ground game. She has all the tools to hold the flyweight belt, and hold it for a long time.
Montano (4-2) ran the table on TUF and eventually won the title over Roxanne Modafferi in her UFC debut, but that fight was nearly a year ago and Montano has been criticized for taking so much time off. Now healthy, she will look to prove the doubters wrong and show the MMA world she is a deserving champion. From what we have seen, she is definitely a talented fighter with a really good ground game, but she does not have much finishing ability and her striking isn’t anything special. That could prove to be her downfall against someone as well-rounded as Shevchenko.
The oddsmakers got it right by listing Shevchenko as a heavy favorite here as she has the advantage in basically every aspect of this fight. Montano is underrated by many fans but at the same time this is just a brutal matchup for her against someone extremely dominant in Shevchenko, and I fully expect this to be Montano’s first and only title defense.
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