Former Ultimate Fighter winner Julianna Pena (Kiowa) will be making her return to the Octagon next month at UFC Sacramento against former fly-weight champion Nicco Montano (Navajo).
According to Damon Martin of MMAFighting.com, Pena is stepping up on short notice to replace the injured Sara McMann and take on Nicco Montano in a women’s bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night 155, which takes place July 13 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
Julianna Pena (8-3) won TUF 13 back in 2013 with a TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy and went on to beat Milana Dudieva, Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano to emerge as a legitimate title contender in the women’s bantamweight division. She then ran into the destroyer known as Valentina Shevchenko and suffered a submission loss in January 2017. Pena has not fought since as she became amother, but after over two years away from the Octagon she is ready to return.
Nicco Montano (4-2) won TUF 26 with a decision win over Roxanne Modafferi back in December 2017, a victory which crowned her the first-ever UFC women’s flyweight champion. However, she has not fought since then due to missing weight and USADA violation. After a long layoff and moving up a weight class she will have to fare in her return to the cage with an increase of 10 lbs. Prior to her weight-cutting issues, it looked like Montano was going to be a top flyweight for a long time, but at 135lbs she may be too small for the division.
The betting odds have not come out for this fight yet, but this should be a highly-competitive matchup between two solid grapplers at 135lbs.