Injury Report: The bloody aftermath of a UFC ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate (Dec. 15 – Dec. 22) 

In the third edition of the Injury Report, we have some cuts, broken bones, and the aftermath of a UFC 'Fight of the Year'…

By: Kristen King | 2 months

Since we are a few days away from Christmas, I have an (early) gift for you, guys and ghouls! Another edition of the Injury Report round-up, where we lead with the aftermath of a UFC ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate . We also get into the injuries that have happened inside and outside of competition recently. 

Ready? Enjoy!

F(r)ight of the Year

Irene Aldana (leg) vs. Karol Rosa (face)

Irene Aldana and Karol Rosa went to war at UFC 296 this past Saturday — and they have the scars to prove it. After failing to dethrone former two-division champion Amanda Nunes earlier this year, Aldana promised to return to contention at whatever the cost. That cost? Leg kicks. 95 leg kicks. 

In the first round of the fight, Rosa went in with leg kicks, which left Aldana with a few welts on her lead leg. As Rosa continued to chip away at Aldana (who was came into the fight with a leg injury!), the most recent UFC challenger would come forward and connect with heavy punches. Those were the tide turners, as Rosa started to wilt in the second and third rounds. After 15 minutes of their all-action affair, Aldana got the win via decision. 

Of course, Aldana and Rosa were left with reminders of their war, and we start with the former: 

Irene Aldana's leg before and after her fight with Karol Rosa at UFC 296.
Screen Shot 2023 12 18 at 11.27.57 AM

And now for the latter:

Screen Shot 2023 12 22 at 10.07.59 AM

Also, I have to include this post-fight photo of Aldana and Rosa at the hospital:  

Risk it for the Biscuit

Shavkat Rakhmonov (ankle)

You were right if you noticed something was wrong with Shavkat Rakhmonov in his fight against Stephen Thompson. During the pay-per-view portion of UFC 296, Rakhmonov dealt with his toughest test thus far in a former UFC challenger. However, Thompson was not the only challenge in the Octagon with the ’Nomad’ that night. 

After securing the second-round submission on ‘Wonderboy’ for his sixth consecutive UFC win, Rakhmonov shared with Laura Sanko that he had to deal with a switch in strategy. Why? Well, the undefeated fighter suffered a major ligament tear in his ankle a month or so prior to his fight. 

“I had a very serious injury, and I was even close to pulling out from the fight, but I decided to risk it all, and that’s why I didn’t kick it with my legs, just used my knees,” said Rakhmonov via his interpreter during the post-fight show. “But thanks God, I got the victory.”

Henri Hooft, head coach of Kill Cliff FC, also shared some photos of the ankle. As Hooft said, now we understand why there was no ‘slugfest’ with Rakhmonov and Thompson.

Breakin’ Bones

Sunny Edwards (orbital)

Sunny Edwards’ face was worse for wear after his loss to Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez. In one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year (for me), these two champions were finally scheduled for a unification. As game as Edwards was, Rodriguez chipped away at him, with his most successful punches coming in the second and ninth rounds. First, a right hand from ‘Bam’ had Edwards’ left eye swelling. Then, Rodriguez sealed the win with a left hand that sent Edwards to the canvas. He went to his corner, where his team decided to wave off the fight. 

As ‘Showtime’ was tended to, you could see all the damage left on his face from Rodriguez. There were a few cuts around his eyes, but the most significant damage? An orbital fracture.  

“Left eye went in the [second round] from a sharp jab,” posted Edwards on X (formerly Twitter). “Was seeing double the majority of the fight. Enjoyed every moment of the event, grateful to be a part of it all.

“[Rodriguez], congratulations and well done on a great performance, been boxing 18 years and it’s never been like that.”

Wishing a speedy recovery to Sunny!

Slice ‘Em Up

Daniel Sanchez Vazquez (shin)

We have another leg-related injury, courtesy of Cian Cowley vs. Daniel Sanchez Vazquez at Combate Global: Ireland vs. Mexico this past Sunday. In less than five minutes, Cowley had completely neutralized Sanchez Vazquez with kicks. Those kicks would lead to a first-round finish for the ‘Warrior,’ who was successful in his first appearance in the promotion.

As for Sanchez Vazquez, his shin was split. On a scale from 1 to Gabriel Benitez (refresh your memory on that shin injury here), this is a seven. 

Jose Torres (face) 

Months after winning the vacant Brave CF bantamweight championship against Nkosi Ndebele, Jose Torres’ reign has come to an end. Defending against the same man he recently defeated, Torres found himself on the receiving end of an aggressive Ndebele, who had sliced ‘Shorty’ up inside three rounds. 

Midway through the fight, Torres signaled to the referee that he could not continue. 

Sittin’ on the Sidelines

Darren Elkins (leg)

The ‘Damage’ got damaged. Darren Elkins recently revealed that he had to undergo surgery after snapping his tibia and fibula in a ‘freak accident’ during training. 

No word yet on when Elkins expects to return to the Octagon, but an injury as severe as this could see him away for a significant amount of time. In his most recent Octagon appearance, the 39-year-old returned to the win column with a submission of T.J. Brown at UFC Fight Night: Yusuff vs. Barboza in October. 

Yana Santos (nose)

Yana Santos (née Kunitskaya) says she has a broken heart (and nose) after having to withdraw from her fight with Norma Dumont at UFC Fight Night: Ankalaev vs. Walker II in January. ‘Foxy’ shared a series of photos that showed her with a broken nose after training. 

On Friday, Santos seemed to hint that she was undergoing surgery on her nose. 

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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