UFC 298: Mackenzie Dern replacing Tatiana Suarez against Amanda Lemos

Apr 9, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Mackenzie Dern (red gloves) after winning a fight against Tecia Torres (blue gloves) during UFC 273 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 298 has seen a shakeup this afternoon. The O.C. Register was the first to report that top strawweight contender Tatiana Suarez (10-0) is out of her upcoming bout against former title challenger Amanda Lemos (13-3-1).

The injury bug continues to plague Suarez who missed nearly four years due to a number of different injuries over the past few years. Suarez fought in June 2019 and then we didn’t see her again until February of last year. Fortunately, she was able to fight twice and dominated both fights which put her right back in the strawweight title picture.

However, injuries continue to be a problem. With Zhang Weili and Yan Xiaonan fighting at UFC 300, Suarez was being lined up to fight the winner for the title should she get past Lemos. Now, she’ll have to take a step back. At this time, there’s no word on the seriousness of the injury.

Mackenzie Dern in at UFC 298

With the news that Suarez is out, Mackenzie Dern (13-4) will be stepping in to face Lemos. The last we saw Dern was back in November at MSG when she faced former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade. It was a rough outing for Dern who was knocked out in the second round.

Dern is a competitor and you know that she wants to get right back in there, but I’m a little surprised by the opponent she’s willing to face. I respect it, but I’m not sure Amanda Lemos is the right opponent coming off that brutal knockout. Lemos arguably has the most power in the strawweight division.

If Dern can get the fight to the ground, she could have a ton of success. However, if she can’t and she’s forced to strike, you might see her get brutally finished again on the feet. It’s a dangerous opponent, but if she’s able to win, it erases the memories of the MSG fight and gets her right into the UFC strawweight title picture.