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Shevchenko head clash broke Santos’ orbital at UFC 275, surgery required

The third round clash of heads between Taila Santos and Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 275 resulted in a broken orbital for the Brazilian fighter.

Taila Santos squints at Valentina Shevchenko during their title fight at UFC 275.
Taila Santos squints at Valentina Shevchenko during their title fight at UFC 275.
Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Fans and pundits can debate the scoring of UFC 275’s co-main event between Taila Santos and Valentina Shevchenko all they want, but there’s one thing that’s not up for debate: the clash of heads between the two fighters in the third round dramatically changed the course of the bout.

Santos herself described the effect that the collision had on her, in her post fight interview with Daniel Cormier.

“Yeah, unfortunately I couldn’t really see out of my right eye after it closed,” Santos confirmed. “But, you know, I saw two Valentinas and I just tried to hit in the middle.”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t just a case of double vision that Santos walked away with on Saturday night. MMA Fighting reports that Santos suffered a broken orbital as a result of the head clash. The injury will require surgery to repair, however Santos will travel back to Brazil before undergoing the operation.

“We had two options,” Santos’ manager Tiago Okamura explained. “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 [back to Brazil] would not be a problem, and we would have a better support back home, since [Santos] would only stay with one person [in Singapore].”

Santos failed to secure the title in her first shot at UFC gold, losing a five-round spit decision. After the bout the 28-year-old vowed that this wouldn’t be the last time fans saw her compete for the belt.

The victory marked 9-straight for Shevchenko and the seventh defense of her flyweight title. No word yet on when she’s looking to return to action, but upcoming bouts between Miesha Tate & Lauren Murphy and Manon Fiorot & Katlyn Chookagian seem likely to produce the next top contender for the crown.