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Raphael Assuncao undergoes successful ankle surgery (warning: graphic pictures)

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Daniel Rubenstein

Raphael Assuncao underwent successful surgery on his right ankle Thursday in Atlanta. If all goes well with his recovery, he hopes to return to action by December.

Doctors inserted eight screws into his ankle. Below are pictures of the procedure, courtesy of his manager Daniel Rubenstein. (Warning: the photos are graphic.)

assuncao ankle

assunacao ankle

assuncao ankle

Coincidentally, Assuncao had surgery at the same time and hospital as his twin brother Freddy, also an MMA fighter, who recently suffered a torn ACL.

Assuncao injured the same ankle back in December but was told he did not need surgery. However, he was recently forced to go back in a boot after he was informed he rushed back to training too soon and the ankle didn't properly heal. After several weeks in a boot, he was then informed by doctors that he would require surgery after all.

The Brazilian, who has won his last seven fights in a row but has not fought since Oct. 2014, could have been next in line for a title shot after Dominick Cruz suffered another torn ACL late last year. He now hopes to return to action by the end of 2015, if all goes well following this week's surgery.

Assuncao holds the distinction of being one of two men to hold a win over current 135-pound champion T.J. Dillashaw, who he defeated via split decision in Oct. 2013.