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Withdrawal from Saturday card continues Montaño’s run of bad luck

If it weren’t for bad luck … well, you know how the saying goes.

So, without question, does Nicco Montaño.

On Tuesday, the UFC confirmed the previous day’s online reports that Albuquerque’s Montaño has withdrawn from Saturday’s card at the Santa Ana Star Center. The former UFC flyweight champion suffered a knee injury in training.

On her Instagram account, Montaño said the MCL injury occurred on her last day of sparring in preparation for her scheduled fight against Macy Chiasson.

Montaño (4-3) is no stranger to bad luck (or no luck at all) in pursuit of her MMA career.

In winning the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight title as champion of the Ultimate Fighter 26 competition, Montaño fractured her foot in the process. Later, in early 2018, she underwent tonsil and adenoid surgery.

That September, on the eve of what was to be her first title defense against now-champion Valentina Shevchenko, she was hospitalized in Dallas after a failed weight cut. The UFC stripped her of the title.

In November 2018, Montaño began serving a six-month suspension after testing positive for the banned substance Ostarine. The United States Anti-Drug Agency, in announcing the suspension, concurred with Montaño’s contention that the positive test resulted from use of a tainted supplement and not from any attempt on her part to artificially enhance performance.

Finally, Montaño returned to the Octagon last July – losing by unanimous decision in Sacramento, California, to Julianna Peña.

Montaño has been replaced on Saturday’s card by Shanna Young (7-2), who will face Chiasson (5-1).

QUICK TURNAROUND: Middleweight Dequan Townsend (21-10) has been named to face Jackson-Wink’s Devin Clark (10-4) on Saturday as a replacement for Gadzhimurad Antigulov, who is off the card for what’s believed to be visa issue.

Townsend last fought less than three weeks ago, losing by unanimous decision to former Jackson-Wink fighter Bevon Lewis on a UFC card in Raleigh, North Carolina.

With the addition of Young and Townsend as replacements for Montaño and Antigulov, Saturday’s 12-fight card is once again fully populated.

WATERSON’S RETURN: Since Albuquerque strawweight Michelle Waterson hasn’t fought since October, one might have thought she’d find a spot on Saturday’s card.

It appears, though, that the UFC had other plans for her. Waterson (17-7) has been booked to face Carla Esparza (15-6) on a UFC card in Portland, Oregon, on April 11.

Waterson is coming off a brutal defeat by unanimous decision against former flyweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in Tampa, Florida. Jedrzejczyk is scheduled to face champion Weili Zhang of China on March 7 in an attempt to regain her title.

The April 11 main event matches heavyweight Alistair Overeem, Waterson’s former Jackson-Wink teammate, against Walt Harris.

THE ODDS: Light heavyeight Corey Anderson (13-4) is a solid, but far from overwhelming, betting favorite against Jan Blachowicz (25-8) in the main event of Saturday’s card at the Star Center.

As of Tuesday, Anderson is positioned anywhere from minus-200 to minus-240. Minus-200 means that a bet of $200 would produce a payout of $100.

Blachowicz is listed at plus-170 or plus-175, meaning a $100 bet would produce a payout of $170 or $175.

Among the six Albuquerque-area fighters on the card, Clark (vs. Townsend), Tim Means (vs. Daniel Rodriguez) and Ray Borg (vs. Rogerio Bonterin) are betting favorites. Diego Sanchez (vs. Michel Pereira) and John Dodson (vs. Nathaniel Wood) are underdogs. The fight between Albuquerque’s Lando Vannata and Yancy Medeiros is virtually even money.

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