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Priscila Cachoeira suffered serious knee injury in UFC Belem loss to Valentina Shevchenko

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MMA: UFC Fight Night-Belem-Shevchenko vs Cachoeira
Priscila Cachoeira lost to Valentina Shevchenko at UFC Belem.
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

BELEM, Brazil — Priscila Cachoeira will be forced to go under the knife following a rough UFC debut.

“Pedrita” lost a one-sided fight to Valentina Shevchenko in the co-main event of UFC Belem on Saturday night, falling via rear-naked choke in the second round after eating more than 200 punches and elbows over the course of the fight.

Speaking with MMA Fighting on Sunday afternoon, Cachoeira’s manager Tiago Okamura said that the flyweight didn’t suffer any facial fractures, but did injure her right knee early in the bout.

“She tore her meniscus and ACL in the beginning of the first round, the first time they engaged, and it went all downhill from that moment,” Okamura said. “We couldn’t do anything.”

Cachoeira will visit Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) medical director Dr. Marcio Tannure in Rio de Janeiro this week to schedule her surgery. There’s a chance she might not compete again in 2018.

Cachoeira suffered her first professional loss against Shevchenko. It was a once sided bout that had many – including UFC president Dana White – questioning referee Mario Yamasaki’s decision to let the fight go on. Okamura agrees that Yamasaki could have stopped the fight a bit sooner.

“He could have stopped it in a few occasions,” he said, “But ‘Pedrita’ is really tough and doesn’t give up. She was trying to get out the entire time. Being a referee is a very complicated job.”

Cachoeira’s coach and cornerman Giliard Parana explained to MMA Fighting why he didn’t throw in the towel after he was informed of the injury — or at any moment of the second round.

“We didn’t know how serious the injury was,” Parana said. “If we knew, I think we would have stopped it, but we only knew when we went to the hospital. She was in pain, she got hurt in the first exchange, and told me in between rounds that she hurt her knee but I told her to shut up. I was trying to make her stop thinking about that, but I had no idea how serious it was. If I knew it, I would have stopped it. We thought she would be able to fight all three rounds.”

“‘Pedrita’ is fearless, she would never quit. She never considered quitting. The world hasn’t seen the real ‘Pedrita’ fight. They saw an injured girl fighting the best pound-for-pound female fighter in MMA, Valentina Shevchenko. Maybe she would lose even if she was 100 percent, but the fight would be a bit better.”