Nunes out with illness just before UFC 213
Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was scratched from her title defense against Valentina Shevchenko after being hospitalized Saturday a few hours before UFC 213 in Las Vegas.
The UFC vaguely cited an “illness” as the reason for Nunes’s hospitalization in its statement. Shevchenko believes Nunes’s condition resulted from a drastic weight cut.
Yoel Romero’s interim middleweight title bout against Robert Whittaker became the main event of the pay-per-view show at T-Mobile Arena, although the UFC also offered ticket refunds to Las Vegas fans.
Shevchenko expressed her displeasure over the loss of a big paycheck and a long-awaited title shot in a post on her social media accounts.
“During the last three months of training, I did everything to be in my best shape for this fight,” Shevchenko wrote. “Nunes couldn’t cut weight correctly and was hospitalized. She wanted to cut weight and recover rapidly to have the advantage. The end result, everything went wrong. Even though she was medically cleared to fight, she backed out. . . . I did my part and am very upset that I can’t fight for the title today on this great event.”
UFC President Dana White speculated that the bout could be moved to UFC 215 in Edmonton on Sept. 9, but a plan hasn’t been finalized.
Nunes (14-4), a Brazilian fighting out of Florida, claimed the 135-pound belt from Miesha Tate last July. After Nunes violently stopped Ronda Rousey in December, she was scheduled to make her second title defense in a rematch of her March 2016 victory over Shevchenko (14-2).
Instead, for the third straight year, the UFC has been forced to cancel the main event of its annual International Fight Week show on short notice.