UFC targeting Mackenzie Dern – Marina Rodriguez next

The UFC is close to finalizing a pivotal matchup in the women’s strawweight division. Dana White announced on TMZ Sports over the weekend that rising star Mackenzie Dern (11-1) will be fighting Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) next.

Dern and Rodriguez are both inside the UFC‘s top six at strawweight. As of now, the promotion doesn’t have an exact date, but White indicated that the fight is agreed to. An official announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

Marina Rodriguez looks like she wants to become the killer of the UFC‘s social media darlings. Just this year, Rodriguez knocked out Amanda Ribas and then she defeated Michelle Waterson by decision.

Now, she has her sights set on stopping Mackenzie Dern. Rodriguez has incredible striking and very good power for the strawweight division. She looks like she can become a future UFC champion.

So far, she is 4-1-2 in her seven octagon appearances. her lose loss came against Carla Esparza on Fight Island last July by Split Decision. Other than that, she’s been a very tough out in the UFC and she looks to be a big challenge to Mackenzie Dern.

Next UFC women’s star?

Over the last year, Mackenzie Dern has really turned the corner in the UFC. At one point, Dern was looked at as someone with a ton of talent, but she was looked at as someone who lacked the dedication to becoming a star.

All of that talk has been thrown out the window. Dern gave birth to her daughter in 2019 and immediately came back to fight Amanda Ribas. She fell short by decision, but ever since that loss, she’s looked like a different fighter.

Dern has finally been putting it all together and she’s 4-0 with three first round submissions in her last four UFC appearances. Her striking is progressing to go along with her world class skills on the ground.

The way Mackenzie Dern looks now, it’s going to be hard to stop her. This matchup is putting together two of the rising stars in the strawweight division. Whoever wins this matchup looks to be in a great position in terms of the strawweight title.

After loss at UFC Vegas 26, what’s next for Michelle Waterson?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 26, two top ten strawweights went head-to-head as Michelle Waterson (18-9) took on Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2). The main event came together on short-notice, but both of these strawweights brought it.

For The Karate Hottie, this was her second straight short-notice main event. Back in September, Waterson was set to take on Angela Hill. After the original main event fell through, the UFC moved Waterson and Hill up to the main event.

Despite not training for it, both ladies went five hard rounds. Waterson walked away with a split decision victory. Two weeks ago, this fight wasn’t even on the card for UFC Vegas 26.

However, after TJ Dillashaw fell out of the main event, the promotion approached Waterson and Rodriguez about headlining. Due to the short-notice nature, the two agreed to meet at flyweight to avoid a drastic weight cut.

It was a back-and-forth affair at UFC Vegas 26. However, Marina Rodriguez was clearly getting the better of the exchanges. While it was competitive, Rodriguez walked away with decision victory on all three judges scorecards.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?

While it was short-notice, UFC Vegas 26 was a very big opportunity for The Karate Hottie. Had Waterson won on Saturday night, she would’ve had two consecutive wins and she would’ve been in line to fight someone in the top five.

However, she didn’t get the job done on Saturday. With the loss, Waterson falls to 1-3 in her last four. Granted two of the losses came to former UFC champions and one was to Rodriguez who looks like she can be a future champion.

I don’t think the loss hurts Waterson at all and she was the betting underdog heading into the fight. So what should the UFC do with The Karate Hottie next? Well, I don’t think they have to look far in the rankings.

I actually really like the potential matchup between Waterson and Claudia Gadelha (18-5). Both strawweights are just inside the top ten and they are both coming off of losses in their last fight.

I feel like both of them are in a similar position. Both need a win and whoever loses would really have to take a step back and consider what’s next. I think it’s a matchup the UFC should pursue and I’m all for it being what’s next.

After impressive victory at UFC Vegas 26, what’s next for Marina Rodriguez?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 26, Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) took on Michelle Waterson (18-9) in the main event. The fight came together on short-notice, but both of these ladies threw down for five minutes.

With a full camp, I really liked Marina Rodriguez in this matchup. She’s much bigger than Waterson with more powerful striking. However, I wasn’t sure how she would hold up under the short-notice circumstances.

Waterson just fought in a short-notice UFC main event back in September. That combined with her grappling ability, I thought she could pickup a decision. However, Marina Rodriguez looked sensational.

The two top ten strawweights both had their moments throughout the fight, but it was clear that Rodriguez was getting the better of the exchanges. Ultimately, all three judges gave the win at UFC Vegas 26 to Marina Rodriguez.

It’s a massive win for Rodriguez who has bounced back strong from her first UFC loss last July. Now, Rodriguez has won two in a row and she’s looking towards the top of the strawweight division.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?

After UFC Vegas 26, it’s time for Rodriguez to take the next step up in competition. Having won two fights in a row, Rodriguez is now 4-1-2 in her seven fights inside the octagon. However, she’s looking better every time she steps in there.

So who should the UFC pair her up with? Rodriguez and others have hinted at a potential matchup with former UFC champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). Jedrzejczyk is looking to make her comeback soon and a matchup with Rodriguez does make sense given their standing.

Not too mention the fact that it would be an incredibly fun matchup stylistically. Another option that could be out there is Mackenzie Dern (11-1). Dern has been surging having won four fights in a row.

A matchup between Rodriguez and Dern could present the UFC’s strawweight division with a fresh title contender. Either one of these ladies would be a perfect next opponent for Marina Rodriguez.

UFC Vegas 26 Preview: Michelle Waterson – Marina Rodriguez

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC Vegas 26, we will see a matchup between two of the best strawweights in the world. The Karate Hottie Michelle Waterson (18-8) is taking on Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) in a short-notice main event.

Just over a week ago, this fight wasn’t even on this card. The main event was supposed to be TJ Dillashaw – Cory Sandhagen. However, Dillashaw suffered a cut in training and that fight had to be pushed back.

The UFC got together with Waterson and Rodriguez and made this fight happen. While these are both top ten strawweights, the fight will be taking place at flyweight given the short-notice nature of the main event.

Waterson comes into this one off of a great win over Angela Hill last September. That was another fight that turned out to be a short-notice main event. After the main event fell through, Waterson and Hill agreed to move their fight to five rounds and move up the card.

That is telling here because it shows you the kind of shape Michelle Waterson is in. At UFC Vegas 26, I have no doubts that she will be able to push a pace as if she was preparing for a fight the entire time.

This is a massive opportunity for Marina Rodriguez. Rodriguez is coming off of knocking out Amanda Ribas back at UFC 257. If she’s able to knock off Waterson, she could be only a win away from a title shot at 115 pound.

UFC Vegas 26 Prediction

The UFC Vegas 26 main event is so interesting to me especially considering the short-nature aspect of it. I know that Michelle Waterson is going to be able to fight as if she was preparing for this fight, but I’m not sure how Rodriguez is going to do with it.

Not having to cut to 115 pounds should definitely help Rodriguez here as she’s the much bigger fighter. For Rodriguez, she’s going to have to keep this fight standing. While Waterson’s nickname is ‘The Karate Hottie’ she usually gets wins by using her wrestling and grappling.

When she’s forced to stand and trade with strikers, she’s susceptible to getting hit. Waterson is always undersized and it’s important to remember that she naturally fought at 105 pound in Invicta, but when she moved to the UFC, she had to fight at 115.

Rodriguez has the power advantage and if Waterson can’t get this down, I could even see Rodriguez getting a finish. However, I do think Waterson is going to be able to use her grappling a lot in this fight. We saw Amanda Ribas have success taking Rodriguez down and holding her there.

With the fight being short-notice, I’m actually going to lean slightly towards Waterson here. With full camps, I’d probably pick Rodriguez, but with all the circumstances on the table here, I’m going to pick the Karate Hottie to get a decision win using her wrestling.

Prediction: Michelle Waterson by Decision

UFC: TJ Dillashaw – Cory Sandhagen is off; Michelle Waterson – Marina Rodriguez to headline May 8th card

The UFC return of TJ Dillashaw (16-4) is going to take a little longer. The former bantamweight champion took to Instagram tonight to announce that he suffered a bad cut during training and his main event against Cory Sandhagen is off (14-2).

The fight was scheduled to headline the UFC‘s Fight Night on May 8th. Dillashaw said in the post that they are working on rebooking the fight as soon as possible. It’s likely we will see the fight in either late May or early June depending on how the cut heals.

This fight had extreme importance in the UFC‘s bantamweight division. This was being looked at as a title eliminator and it still likely will be. Originally, the UFC was planning on having the winner of this fight face the winner of the Petr Yan – Aljamain Sterling fight.

However, after Sterling won by DQ, things took at turn. The promotion started working on the rematch, but Sterling opted for neck surgery which will keep him out of action until near the end of the year.

The UFC was supposedly kicking the tires on having Dillashaw or Sandhagen fight Yan for an interim title depending on how Sterling was recovering. Ultimately, that might still happen, but a lot will depend on Dillashaw’s recovery.

New UFC main event

With Dillashaw out of the fight, the UFC has shifted their attention to a new headliner. According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, the front runner for the new headlining fight is Michelle Waterson (18-8) – Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2).

Waterson last fought in September in a main event against Angela Hill. That night, those two stole the show and Waterson walked away with a split decision victory.

We last saw Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257 when she took on Amanda Ribas. Ribas had a ton of momentum heading into that fight, but Rodriguez stopped it all with a TKO in the second round. This should be a fantastic matchup and a very important one for the strawweight division.

After submission win at UFC Vegas 23, what’s next for Mackenzie Dern?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 23, Mackenzie Dern (11-1) took on the returning Nina Nunes (10-7) on the main card. Nunes was ranked fifth in the division, but she was making her first appearance since 2019 after giving birth to her daughter last year.

Dern on the other hand had fought and won three times in the UFC in 2020. The jiu jitsu world champion was looking to pickup her fourth consecutive win on her march towards a potential shot at the strawweight title.

Over the last year, Dern has spent her time training under Jason Parillo. During that time, we’ve seen incredible improvements in her striking to go along with her world class skills on the ground.

However, she was going to have her toughest striking matchup at UFC Vegas 23. On Saturday night, Dern fought exactly how she needed to fight. With Nunes having been out for so long, Dern immediately pressed the action.

She set a vicious pace early which didn’t allow Nunes the time to get comfortable. Dern chained some big lunging punches into a takedown attempt. After Nunes defended well throughout the round, Dern was able to lockup an armbar and secure her fourth straight UFC victory.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 23?

Make no mistake about it, Mackenzie Dern is looking like she’s going to be a force in the strawweight division. Dern said that her goal was to fight for the UFC title before the end of 2021.

So after another big win, what’s next? Dern made the jump up to fifth in the strawweight rankings after this week’s update. For her next fight, I think there are a couple fights that could make sense for Dern.

The highest profile fight would be against former UFC strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). Jedrzejczyk has been enjoying life outside the cage, but once fans return, she said she’ll ready to come back.

If Dern wants to fight for the title before the year is over, Jedrzejczyk would be the opponent that could put her in that position. Another matchup the UFC could look at is a matchup with Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2).

Rodriguez is ranked one spot behind Dern in the rankings and she’s coming off of a massive win. She knocked out Amanda Ribas at UFC 257 in January. Ribas is the lone strawweight to have defeated Dern. With that, this matchup with Rodriguez also makes a ton of sense for the promotion.

What’s next for Angela Hill after UFC Vegas 21?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, Angela Hill (13-9) returned to the octagon. She took on Ashley Yoder (8-7) in a rematch from their first fight a few years ago that Hill won. Originally, these two were supposed to fight a couple of weeks ago.

However, the day of the fight, Yoder had to pull out due to a positive COVID test in her camp. The UFC rescheduled the bout and the two ladies went to war on Saturday night. Hill was the big betting favorite and it was easy to see why as the fight played out.

Ashley Yoder is very tough and wouldn’t go away, but Saturday belonged to Angela Hill. Hill’s striking was incredibly crisp and her speed gave Yoder problems all night. I was extremely impressed with the body work by Angela Hill

Hill did a fantastic job of mixing up her punches and kicks to the body. At one point in the third round, she unleashed a barrage of six or seven hard knees to the body of Ashley Yoder. Yoder wouldn’t go away, but she had no answer. All three judges gave every round to Hill at UFC Vegas 21.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

This win had to feel great for Angela Hill. Hill looked like she was marching towards the UFC’s top five of strawweight early on in 2020. However, she suffered two razor close split decision losses to Claudia Gadelha and Michelle Waterson.

Now that Hill is back in the win column, I believe it’s time for her to get someone inside the top ten. Hill was supposed to fight Tecia Torres (12-5) in a rematch back in December and that’s still a fight I like.

There is some bad blood there and it makes sense from a rankings perspective. However, if the UFC wants to go in a different route, I like Hill against Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2). This would be a very fun matchup and a win would get Hill close to the top five. Either option would be a good choice for Angela Hill’s next fight.

After her knockout loss at UFC 257, what’s next for Amanda Ribas?

Going into UFC 257, Amanda Ribas (10-2) was riding a ton of momentum. She was unbeaten with the promotion and her infectious personality allowed her to be easily marketable for the UFC.

If she was able to win on Saturday, she was expected to receive a huge push from the promotion. However, Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) had different plans for UFC 257. Rodriguez is known as one of the best and most powerful strikers in the strawweight division.

For Ribas to win on Saturday, she needed to lean on her grappling skills. In the first round of their fight, that’s what she did. Ribas was able to land a takedown and she controlled Rodriguez for the majority of the round.

However, in the second round, there was no urgency to get the takedown. Instead, Ribas seemed comfortable and was willing to trade with Rodriguez. This proved to be a major mistake.

Within the first minute, Rodriguez landed a huge right hand as Ribas was coming in. Ribas crashed to the floor and at the 54 second mark of the first round, Rodriguez derailed the UFC hype train of Amanda Ribas.

What’s next after UFC 257?

This was a bad loss for Ribas at UFC 257, but it wasn’t something that will completely derail her career. She had entered Saturday night 4-0 in the UFC, however, Rodriguez was going to be her first really dangerous opponent.

Yes, she had a win over Mackenzie Dern, however, that was after a lengthy layoff for Dern. We also know that Dern isn’t a striker like Marina Rodriguez. While it is a setback, Ribas is fully capable of bouncing back from this loss.

So what comes next after her UFC 257 loss? In looking at the strawweight division, I think there are a few options for Ribas. One option would be Angela Hill (12-9) who is currently ranked 12th in the division.

Hill was the victim of two razor close split decision losses in 2020. Had those gone her way, she would’ve been riding a five-fight winning streak and she would have been a contender for the UFC title in 2021.

Another option for Ribas would be Tecia Torres (12-5). Torres has won two fights in a row after losing four straight. This has her ranked ninth in the division just one spot ahead of where Ribas is.

The last option I have is a matchup against thirteenth ranked Virna Jandiroba (16-2). Any of those three would make great opponents for Ribas and they are all inside the top 13. Get a win over one of those and they hype train gets moving again.

After her big knockout win at UFC 257, what’s next for Marina Rodriguez?

Heading into UFC 257, all of the attention was on Amanda Ribas (10-2) when it came to the PPV opener. Ribas had a ton of hype behind her and many believed that she was the next big thing at strawweight.

However, Marina Rodriguez (13-1-2) was ready to make a statement at UFC 257. Despite both of these strawweight contenders being ranked around the same spot, all of the attention was on Ribas.

For Ribas to win, she was going to need to get this fight to the ground. Rodriguez has incredible standup skills, but she’s been in trouble when facing good grapplers. With that in mind, she really struggled in the first round at UFC 257.

In the first round, Ribas was able to land a takedown. Once on the ground, Ribas controlled Rodriguez for the majority of the round and landed some nice shots. However, the second round was a completely different story.

Ribas didn’t go for a takedown in the second round. Instead, she stood in the pocket with Rodriguez and she paid for it. Seconds into the round, Rodriguez dropped and hurt Ribas badly.

Rodriguez followed up with some shots and Herb Dean seemed to step in. She moved away to celebrate the win before realizing that the fight wasn’t stopped. Rodriguez then stepped right back in and finished Ribas off with a vicious elbow to close the show at UFC 257.

What’s next after UFC 257?

On the biggest stage against an opponent with a ton of hype, Marina Rodriguez performed at her very best. Her knockout win at UFC 257 is the biggest win of her career and it’s huge for her position in the strawweight division.

The new rankings just came out today and Rodriguez has moved up to sixth in the UFC’s strawweight division. With that big win on that stage, it appears that Rodriguez will get a big name in her next fight.

In looking at the strawweight division, I think a good fight for Rodriguez would be Michelle Waterson (18-8). Waterson is coming off of a big win over Angela Hill back in September and since 2018, she’s only lost to former champions.

The Karate Hottie is currently ranked two spots behind Rodriguez at eight. However, she has a big following and she’s a big name. The winner of that fight would be in a great position to challenge someone in the UFC’s top five.

Marina Rodriguez knocks out Amanda Ribas at UFC 257

Kicking off the UFC 257 main card was an anticipated strawweight matchup. Budding superstar, Amanda Ribas (10-1) took on fellow Brazilian, Marina Rodriguez (12-1-2). Both entered this contest inside the UFC‘s top ten.

Ribas has taken the MMA world by storm over the past year. From her skill in the octagon to her infectious personality, the Brazilian seems to have it all. As mentioned, she’s extremely skilled.

Ribas entered the octagon tonight undefeated in the UFC. She has wins over Paige VanZant, Mackenzie Dern, and Randa Markos in her career so far. However, it was clear that her toughest test stood in front of her tonight.

Marina Rodriguez earned a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series a couple of years ago. However, her UFC run hasn’t been the smoothest thus far. It is worth noting that she’s faced top competition.

So far she is 2-1-2 in her five fights inside the octagon. Rodriguez suffered her first career loss to former UFC champion Carla Esparza in her last fight. She was looking to get a huge bounce back win tonight and stop the hype train of Amanda Ribas.

UFC 257 Recap

Round 1

The first fight on the UFC 257 main card got started with a touch of the gloves. Ribas was trying to work her way inside early with straight punches. However, Rodriguez was doing a good job of circling around the outside.

Both ladies connected with a few shots, however Ribas was able to work her way in. Rodriguez made an error that allowed Ribas to get ahold of her. Once she grabbed her, Ribas was able to land the takedown with a few minutes to work.

Rodriguez was able to keep Ribas inside the guard. However, Ribas was doing well at landing shots on Rodriguez. Rodriguez tried to throw up submissions, but Ribas did a good job of defending. The round comes to an end and it’s 1-0 for Ribas at UFC 257.

Round 2

The second round of the UFC 257 bout kicked off with Ribas looking to close the distance. Rodriguez was looking to work her kicks to keep her distance. Ribas worked her way in but Rodriguez landed a massive right hand that dropped Amanda Ribas.

Amanda Ribas folded and Rodriguez followed up with a few shots. Herb Dean stepped in and there was a moment of confusion. The fight wasn’t stopped after Rodriguez thought it was. She went right back to work and finished off Amanda Ribas. Massive win for Marina Rodriguez.

Marina Rodriguez def. Amanda Ribas by TKO – Round 2