The second fight on the main card of UFC Vegas 23 was a big matchup in the strawweight division. Fifth ranked Nina Nunes (10-6) was making her return against the rising contender, Mackenzie Dern (10-1).
After a lengthy layoff due to having a baby, Mackenzie Dern returned to the UFC in 2019. She looked very rusty and lost a decision to Amanda Ribas. However, she was able to really turn things around in 2020.
Starting in May, Dern was a perfect 3-0 with two submissions in the UFC. She continues to look better and better every time she steps in the cage. Dern was going to need her best stuff today in taking on Nunes.
Nina Nunes was returning from her lengthy layoff after giving birth. We had not seen Nunes in the UFC since June of 2019. That night, Nunes lost a decision to Tatiana Suarez.
However, that loss snapped a four-fight win streak that included victories over Claudia Gadelha, Angela Hill, and Randa Markos. This matchup at UFC Vegas 23 was pivotal for both of these top contenders.
UFC Vegas 23 Recap
The UFC Vegas 23 strawweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Dern pushes forward with a ton of pressure and lands, but Nunes cracked her with a nice counter shot. The two exchange a couple of big shots before Dern forces the clinch against the fence.
Nunes is able to break and they go back to striking. A big leg kick from Mackenzie Dern lands and she follows it with a right hand. After that, Dern shot in and got deep on a single leg. Dern used a trip to successfully land the takedown.
After they were on the ground, Dern started trying to advance position. The Jiu Jitsu world champion was looking for a submission and she was able to advance to the mount position.
After getting to the mount, Dern started throwing big shots and she transitioned to working on the armbar. Nunes was defending well, but eventually Dern was able to lock it in and Nunes taps immediately. Beautiful performance by Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 23.
Mackenzie Dern def. Nina Nunes by Submission (Armbar) – Round 1