Flyweight title challenger Taila Santos brought champion Valentina Shevchenko to a split decision at UFC 275 after suffering a gruesome injury during their fight
UFC star Taila Santos has shown off an horrible injury she suffered during her flyweight title effort against Valentina Shevchenko last weekend.
The Brazilian fighter suffered a broken orbital bone during a clash of heads between her and the champion in the co-main event of UFC 275 in Singapore. She picked up the nasty injury in the third round but went on to win the fight on one judge’s scorecard and narrowly miss out on dethroning the seemingly-unbeatable champion.
Santos was a major underdog going into her clash with Shevchenko, with the Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian fighter unbeaten since she moved up to bantamweight to face Amanda Nunes back in 2017. But she took the fight to her rival, with many fans believing she did enough to win.
But she ultimately left not only without the belt but with a severe injury after a head clash that could take weeks to heal. Her manager, Tiago Okamura, shared photos with MMAJunkie of the fighter sporting gnarly bruising on her eye that renders it almost completely closed.
There is no timeline yet for Santos’ return but orbital bones are said to take a few weeks to heal. She will return to her native Brazil while she recovers from the injury after opting not to undergo immediate surgery in Singapore, where the fight was held.
Okamura told MMA Fighting: “We had two options: to have surgery here – and God knows how long we’d have to stay and how the recovery would take – or wait two weeks for the swelling to reduce a little bit and then have the surgery.
“The doctors said the long flight would not be a problem and we would have a better support back home, since [Santos] would only stay with one person [in Singapore].”
Shevchenko, meanwhile, claimed after the fight that she had suffered a foot injury during training camp, and she opted not to engage in her usual celebratory post-bout dance. Santos argued that she felt she did what was needed to win the fight due to increased activity.
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“I did everything I had to do,” Santos said in the Octagon after the bout. “I had challenging fight. I had five rounds and this is exactly what I wanted, an opponent who is not giving up in the first second and goes until the end.
“In this kind of fight, you can show what you’re made of. Your character, your mindset. No matter how hard, no matter how difficult. She was inactive, and me being even in that position, I was striking and I was feeling the power of the strikes and I felt how she treated because it was hurting her.
“This is what counts the most in mixed martial arts, is damage. I could even feel in the fight round-to-round, you could see more damage showing on her face more and more.”