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Junior dos Santos to have shoulder surgery, targets early 2023 return to fighting

Junior dos Santos
Eagle FC

Junior dos Santos is expected to have surgery Thursday to fix a “very complicated” injury sustained in a recent heavyweight clash with Yorgan de Castro at Eagle FC, the fighter revealed on social media.

“Cigano” dislocated his right shoulder in the third round of his main event bout on May 20 in Florida. According to the fighter, his list of injuries include a shoulder labrum tear, partial tear to the tendon and ligament tear. The 38-year-old heavyweight needs to have surgery to avoid dislocating it in training in the future.

The plan is to have surgery Thursday in Brazil with his longtime doctors Rickson Moraes and Maria Bogea. Dos Santos is expected to be cleared to resume training in six months and plans to return to competition in the beginning of 2023.

“Sadly, [the injury] happened when it wasn’t supposed to, in the third round of a fight where I was feeling incredibly well and seeing everything clearly, avoiding all of his attacks,” dos Santos said in a video posted on his Instagram page Tuesday. “He didn’t touch my face. He punched my head once in round one and again in round two, but did not touch my face. A few leg kicks and that’s it.

“I was seeing everything and moving really well, touching him in an effective way. I was really happy, so happy I didn’t want to expose myself too much going for the knockout or a takedown because it was all going so well. But things went wrong in the beginning of the third round [laughs] and my shoulder dislocated. And here we are, ready to take care of this and move on.”

The TKO defeat due to injury set dos Santos back in his first bout since leaving the UFC, putting him on a five-fight losing slide. The former UFC champion had only lost five times in 26 bouts prior to his current skid.