Evan Elder saw his ‘Fight of the Night’ with Nazim Sadykhov end abruptly after he suffered a gruesome cut above his right eye.
Featured on the preliminary portion of UFC Vegas 69 on Saturday, Elder and Sadykhov were involved in an all-action affair that saw both men have their moments. One of the most significant came in the third round when the ‘Black Wolf’ threw a head kick that opened up the cut on the ‘Phenom,’ who bled immediately. When there was a lull in the action, referee Mark Smith requested the cageside physician to examine the cut.
After one good glance, he determined Elder was unfit to continue, forcing Smith to stop the fight in the third and final round. The 25-year-old was upset, protesting the stoppage while assessing the cut on the screens in the UFC APEX. Also upset was UFC president Dana White, who initially thought the stoppage was questionable. That was until he saw Elder and his cut up close.
White shared a series of photos of Elder before and after he received stitches backstage, which can be seen below courtesy of Amy Kaplan of FanSided.
Warning: Photos below are graphic. Please proceed with caution.
“I was questioning the stoppage,” wrote White on his Instagram stories. “I will shut the f—k up now.”
Dana White shared several photos of Evan Elder’s cut backstage #UFCVegas69 pic.twitter.com/yXeDuHoyIX— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) February 19, 2023
In response to White, Dr. David Abbasi — the orthopedic sports surgeon known for his injury breakdowns — explained why the cageside physician made the decision.
“Here’s what we’re looking at on Evan Elder,” tweeted Abbasi. “At the medial border near his eyebrow — it’s his supratrochlear vein! It’s large/engorged due to increased blood flow from damage/exercise. Thank goodness [it] wasn’t torn — bleeding would be gruesome! Tag [Dana White]!”
Here’s what we’re looking at on Evan Elder.— David Abbasi, MD (@DrDavidAbbasi) February 19, 2023
At the medial border near his eyebrow- Its his supratrochlear vein!
Its large/engorged due to increased blood flow from damage/exercise
Thank goodness wasn’t torn-bleeding would be gruesome!
Tag @danawhite!#evanelder #UFCVegas69 pic.twitter.com/0feYiQpnBR
So it sounds like if Elder took any more damage, we might have had a literal bloodbath on our hands, so the stoppage was warranted.
As Elder was stitched up, the judges’ scorecards were released, and he was ahead on all three of them 20-18 before the fight-ending injury. Had he survived the rest of the third round, the lightweight may have earned his first UFC win.
Perhaps Elder can find consolation in the extra $50k he received for his efforts tonight.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)