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Former UFC flyweight champion Nicco Montaño suffers knee injury, out UFC Rio Rancho

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Invicta veteran Shanna Young has stepped in to fight Macy Chiasson this weekend.

According to MMA Fighting Nicco Montaño has been forced out of this weekend’s UFC Rio Rancho card after suffering an injury. Montaño, the promotion’s first women’s flyweight champion, was expected to fight fellow TUF winner Macy Chiasson in a bantamweight contest.

Montaño’s manager Ricky Kottenstette told MMA Fighting that his fighter had suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain. Montaño had traveled to the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas to seek treatment, with hopes she could still fight this weekend. However, the knee injury proved serious enough to take her out of competition.

Invicta veteran Shanna Young, who once appeared on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, has been picked to replace Montaño. That’s according to Young’s manager Danny Rubenstein and Chiasson’s coach Sayif Saud.

Young stepped in as a late replacement to fight Daiana Torquayo at Invicta FC 39 last week. However, due to illness, Young was unable to make it to the scales.

Young currently holds a pro record of 7-2. Last time out — at Invicta FC 38 — she beat Maiju Suotama by unanimous decision. She trains in Knoxville alongside UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux.

Chiasson, while competing at featherweight, won The Ultimate Fighter 28 in 2018 after beating Pannie Kianzad. After dropping down to bantamweight, she got stoppage wins over Gina Mazany and Sarah Moras before losing a decision to Lina Lansberg last summer. Her record currently stands at 5-1.

Missing out on this weekend’s fight is the latest event in a series of misfortunes that have prevented Montaño from building on her historic victory on the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

During that show Montaño — a relative unknown in the sport — bested known talents Lauren Murphey, Barb Honchak and Roxanne Modafferi on her way to clinching the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title.

After winning the title Montaño was booked to defend the belt versus Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228 in August, 2018. However, Montaño was hospitalized during her weight cut, taking her out of the bout. In an usual move from the promotion Montaño was then stripped of the flyweight belt.

In 2019 Montaño was suspended for six months by USADA after testing positive for ostarine. Montaño returned to action at UFC on ESPN+ 13 last July. There, in her bantamweight debut, she dropped a decision to Julianna Peña (a late replacement for Sara McMann). That dropped Montaño’s pro record to 4-3.

UFC on ESPN+ 25: Anderson vs. Błachowicz 2 happens this Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. In addition to the headline bout of Corey Anderson vs. Jan Błachowicz, the card includes a welterweight bout between Diego Sanchez and Michel Pereira.