“Tank” improved to 15-0 as a pro and 4-0 in the UFC on Saturday with a one-sided unanimous decision win over Liudvik Sholinian. The 26-year-old Welshman appeared on The MMA Hour on Wednesday sporting a fresh cast on his arm and he revealed that he entered the bout with an injured left shoulder and also injured his left thumb in the first round against Sholinian.
Though Shore swept the scorecards, he can’t recall ever being in such bad shape after a fight.
“Broken thumb, I think I did that in the first round,” Shore said. “I think it happened because my shoulder, I was in so much pain throwing with the shoulder, I wasn’t throwing my left tidy, I couldn’t get my elbow in enough and I ended up obviously cracking him with the side of my hand and completely snapping my thumb at the base.
“I’m six weeks in a cast with that now and waiting on an MRI scan next week to see the full extent of the damage on the shoulder. Considering it was a pretty straightforward victory, it’s probably the most banged up I’ve been coming out of a fight to be honest.”
The injury occurred about two and a half weeks ago in Shore’s estimation and he couldn’t move his arm or train without pain in the days after it occurred. He gave little thought to pulling out of UFC Vegas 36 due to the fact that it was booked as a showcase for U.K. talent (the event was originally planned to take place in London before eventually being moved to the UFC APEX in Las Vegas due to England’s COVID-19 quarantine rules).
Shore’s coaches wanted him to reconsider taking the fight, but he decided to gut it out, which required as much mental strength as it did physical.
“As soon as I went back to the corner at the end of the first round the pain was just getting worse and worse as the fight was going on, every jab I was throwing it would get more restricted,” Shore said. “The pain was starting to shoot up into my trap, into my neck, and I thought you’ve got to just sort of hit cruise control and just keep him away from me and rack the points up. You know it’s a bad one when you’re feeling the pain and your adrenaline’s pumping. Usually, those sort of things don’t start to hurt until after the fight.
“By the end of the third, I couldn’t clench my fist because of the thumb and I couldn’t lift my arm because of the shoulder. But the wrestling and the grappling was something I had to avoid dearly. Being against such a good wrestler as well, it was starting to get a little bit edgy in the mind towards the end of the second and the third when he started to shoot the takedowns because I had no strength. … I was struggling to underhook, struggling to do anything with my left arm and my left hand, so it was a tough one on the mind but obviously we got through it and managed to get the win.”
Shore now awaits further news on whether he requires surgery on his left shoulder. According to the official medical suspensions, Shore will soon undergo an X-ray and MRI on his shoulder. If test results are positive, an orthopedic doctor will have to clear Shore to compete or he will be out until March 2022.
Fortunately for Shore, he is not in a rush to be fast-tracked up the loaded bantamweight ranks and he’s willing to wait “three to four years” to become the first Welsh fighter to challenge for a UFC title. That said, he discussed a few possible opponents following his win on Saturday, including Cody Stamann, Song Yadong, and Raphael Assuncao.
“Those three guys mainly because of their position in the rankings,” Shore said. “I’m a realist, they’re not gonna track me in with a top-5 guy or a top-10 guy, I just need to get an opportunity against those guys who are on the bottom end of the ranks in terms of their number that’s gonna put me in the mix. I think a fight with any of those three stylistically would be a fun one to watch.
“Especially after Saturday, I feel like I’m ready for that step up in competition, especially someone like Assuncao who’s been there, seen it, done it with all the top names. I think he’s 40 fights-plus on his pro record, been in the UFC for God knows how long. Someone like that is the necessary test I know that I need to prove to people that I can school these guys who are lower down but I can also compete and beat these guys who are the elite of the elite as well. That’s what I want next, that’s what I’m gonna be pushing for.”
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