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Combat sports notes: Means in, Montaño out on Aug. 8

Nicco Montaño , top, punches Julianna Pena during a women’s bantamweight mixed martial arts fight at UFC Fight Night in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Nicco Montaño, it appears, is out of a scheduled Aug. 8 UFC card.

Tim Means, Montaño’s former teammate at Albuquerque’s FIT-NHB gym, is in.

As first reported by the Brazilian MMA website, Moriarty’s Means (29-12-1) will face Argentina’s Laureano Staropoli (9-2) on the Aug. 8 card, expected to take place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Numerically, at least, Means-Staropoli will replace Montaño’s fight against Oklahoma City’s Julia Avila — postponed until Sept. 5, according to multiple online reports, because Montaño’s coach, John Wood, tested positive for COVID-19 prior to Friday’s LFA card in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Montaño (4-3), a former Albuquerque resident, now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and trains there at Syndicate MMA.

Means last fought on the Feb. 15 UFC Fight Night card at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, losing by second-round submission (standing guillotine choke) to Daniel Rodriguez.

Staropoli is coming off a loss as well, by unanimous decision in Singapore on Oct. 26.

Little has gone right for Montaño since 2017, when she became the UFC’s inaugural women’s flyweight champion by beating Roxanne Modafferi in the Ultimate Fighter 26 finale.

En route to that title, Montaño suffered a broken foot. While recovering, she underwent a tonsillectomy and adenoid surgery.

A day before what was to have been her first title defense against Valentina Shevchenko in September 2018, Montaño had to be hospitalized because of dehydration as a result of a failed weight cut. The UFC stripped her of the title.

Montaño then served a six-month suspension levied by the United States Anti-Drug Agency after a positive test for the banned substance Ostarine. USADA acknowledged her ingestion of Ostarine was unintentional and the result of taking a tainted supplement.

Finally, last August, Montaño had her first fight since winning the title — losing by unanimous decision to veteran Julianna Pena.

In February, Montaño was scheduled to face Macy Chiasson on the UFC Fight Night card at the Santa Ana Star Center — but was forced to withdraw after suffering an MCL injury in training.

And now this.

Montaño and Avila fought on a minor-league circuit in January 2017 in Oklahoma City, Avila’s hometown. Avila won by unanimous decision.

Montaño, a Native American, grew up in eastern Arizona. In Albuquerque, she trained at FIT-NHB and Jackson’s Acoma.

PLATINUM REVISITED: UFC welterweight Mike Perry made the wrong kind of news last week when he knocked a man unconscious at a bar in Lubbock, Texas. According to a police report, eyewitnesses said Perry struck two other people during the altercation and was heard to utter racial slurs.

Perry, nicknamed “Platinum,” trained briefly at Albuquerque’s Jackson-Wink MMA. He was not disruptive during his stay, according to sources, but got caught up in a war of words between Jackson-Wink co-founder Mike Winkeljohn and former J-W fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Winkeljohn had opted to work Perry’s corner for a fight between the J-W newcomer and Cerrone, one of the gym’s cornerstone fighters — angering Cerrone and prompting him to leave Jackson-Wink.

Perry lost to Cerrone by first-round submission (arm bar) in November 2018. It was his second and last fight under the Jackson-Wink banner, having defeated Paul Felder by split decision the previous July.

Before Perry’s most recent fight, a victory over Mickey Gall by unanimous decision on June 27, Perry said he believed the distraction created by the Winkeljohn-Cerrone feud affected his performance in the loss to “Cowboy.”

His relationship with Jackson-Wink was a bad fit, he said, and he decided to leave after the loss to Cerrone.

Since the incident in Lubbock, which is likely to produce criminal charges, Perry has said he has abused alcohol and will seek substance and behavioral counseling.

The UFC has said Perry will not fight again until it is satisfied he’s made the necessary changes.

BARE KNUCKLES: Albuquerque’s Isaac Vallie-Flagg is scheduled to face Luis Palomino on July 24 in Oxford, Mississippi in the main event of a Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship card.

Vallie-Flagg is 3-0 as a bare-knuckles fighter. The former UFC fighter retired from MMA in 2016 with a 16-7-1 record.


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