In a UFC fight, Mackenzie Dern is the underdog as she faces off against Marina Rodriguez. The odds are stacked against her and the pressure to win is high. However, this doesn’t seem to be getting in the way of her confidence or performance.
Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez are two of the top fighters in the UFC. They both have a chance to win the title this year, but who will come out on top?
Mackenzie Dern, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, was enthralled by the sheer potential of mixed martial arts when she made the complete switch in 2016.
Granted, a lot of things have to go right for a prospect to reach his or her full potential, but Dern’s submission grappling is so good that it’s the sort of trump card that can transform a prospect into a contender into a champion.
Things are going well for Dern five years into her professional career. When she fights Marina Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night inside the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday (2 p.m. ET on ESPN+), the 28-year-old will be riding a four-fight win streak into her first UFC main event. A victory would cement Dern’s status as a top-five contender at strawweight, with a win possibly propelling her into the top three.
Dern has earned first-round submissions in three of her last four outings, indicating that everything is clicking for her. She’s formed an unbreakable bond with head coach Jason Parillo, who has trained BJ Penn, Tito Ortiz, Michael Bisping, Rafael dos Anjos, and Luke Rockhold among other past UFC champions.
In a crucial battle between championship contenders in the strawweight category, Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez face off. With Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili scheduled to fight in early November, Dern-Rodriguez may be a game changer for the championship.
Dern vs. Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Saturday, Oct. 9 • Main event on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET • Preliminaries on ESPN+ at 1 p.m. ET
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After early difficulties with work ethic and weight control, she has showed a great deal of maturity and discipline in recent years. She has lofty ambitions — she recently discussed the idea of a flyweight championship bout with Valentina Shevchenko — but she is also grounded and practical. She isn’t in a hurry to win a championship.
Rodriguez (14-1-2), a 34-year-old Brazilian boxer, will give Dern (11-1) her hardest challenge to yet. In May, she competed in a five-round main event against Michelle Waterson. Rodriguez is one of the best attackers in the division — an area where Dern is still a work in progress — and she’ll have the upper hand in this fight due to her height and reach.
Rodriguez is the No. 6 strawweight in the UFC heading into the weekend, and she’s a championship contender in her own right. But there’s little doubt that Dern is ready to go on to the next level, to continue her growth and road toward a possible UFC championship.
When someone with Dern’s history and achievements (she’s a multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion) enters MMA, there are certain expectations. Not everyone thought Dern was a lock for a UFC championship the minute she slipped on a pair of MMA gloves, but it seemed like a genuine possibility. And with each battle, it seems more and more genuine.
The main card begins at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN+, with prelims beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.
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After three defeats in a row, Elliot came back with back-to-back wins against Ryan Benoit and Jordan Espinosa. Elliott’s offensive push, along with his hitting and top game, was too much for Espinosa to handle in his most recent bout. Elliott has suffered in the past with surrendering too many takedowns and being too comfortable fighting from his back. He also has a habit of allowing himself into compromising situations as a result of his trust in his ground game, which has led him into problems.
Elliott is in for a long night if he lets Nicolau set the tempo and accepts his takedowns. In his most recent match, Nicolau displayed tremendous composure against Manel Kape. He remained calm and mixed his punches and calf kicks well. He perplexed Kape, and then, unexpectedly, he brought the battle to a halt. That’s when he’s at his most effective. Against Elliott, I anticipate a similar strategy. I think Nicolau is the superior striker (in terms of speed, power, and efficiency), and if he can put Elliott on his back, he can add another victory to his résumé. Matheus Nicolau at -190 is my pick.
Ian Parker’s quote
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There’s also FightCenter, which provides real-time coverage of every UFC event.
There are four additional items to consider (from ESPN Stats & Information)
1. Randy Brown will be looking to become the 10th welterweight in UFC history with four submission wins when he takes on Jared Gooden. Gooden is also a finisher, having recorded 14 of them in his 18 career victories.
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2. Tim Elliott is a well-known figure. His battle with Matheus Nicolau will be his 15th in the UFC’s flyweight division, tying former champion Demetrious Johnson for third all-time after Joseph Benavidez (19) and Jussier Formiga (16).
3. Sabina Mazo averages 6.56 strikes per minute, second only to Joanne Calderwood among women in the UFC (6.75). Mazo will fight Mariya Agapova, a flyweight who hasn’t fought since losing to Shana Dobson in an August 2020 battle in which Agapova was a -1500 betting favorite, the highest odds for a losing favorite in the UFC since 2007.
4. Prior to his most recent fight, a split-decision win in April, heavyweight Alexandr Romanov was 14-0 with all finishes (8 KO/TKO, 5 submits). Jared Vanderaa is Romanov’s opponent.
Jeff Wagenheim of ESPN contributed to this bout preview as well.
Mackenzie Dern is a mixed martial artist with an impressive record of 10-2. Dern has only lost to the current UFC bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes, and she’s been on a winning streak since then. Reference: mackenzie dern sherdog.
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