What’s next for Nina Nunes after her loss at UFC Vegas 23?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 23, Nina Nunes (10-7) returned to the octagon for the first time since 2019. Waiting for her was the surging strawweight contender and BJJ world champion, Mackenzie Dern (11-1).

Heading into UFC Vegas 23, the key for Nunes was keeping the fight standing. While Dern has made a ton of improvements in her striking, the general thought was that if the fight was on the feet, Nunes would have the advantage.

I also thought it would be important for Nunes to stay patient. When you’ve been out for a lengthy amount of time, it takes a couple of minutes to get adjusted to being back in the fire. So for Nunes, it was going to be key to not rush things in the cage.

On the flip side, Dern needed to push the pace at UFC Vegas 23. She needed to be in Nunes’ face to not let her get comfortable and that is exactly what she did. Her aggressive nature allowed her to land some good shots and get a takedown in the first round.

Once Dern had the fight on the ground, she was in full control. I will say, I was impressed with how Nunes defended for the majority of the round. However, in the end it didn’t matter. Dern locked up an armbar late in the round and took the victory at UFC Vegas 23.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 23?

As mentioned, this was Nina Nunes’ first fight since mid-2019. After taking last year off to give birth to her daughter, it was a lot to ask of her to take on someone like Mackenzie Dern in her UFC return.

Now that she’s got this first fight under her belt, I think she could get a quality opponent in her second fight back. There is one fight that I’m looking at for her next which seems like a very quality matchup.

For her next bout, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the UFC book her against Tecia Torres (12-5). Torres has won back-to-back fights which has put her tenth in the UFC rankings. Even with the loss, Nunes is seventh. Torres wants a step up in the rankings and Nunes needs a quality opponent. The matchup makes sense.

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.

Mackenzie Dern submits Nina Nunes at UFC Vegas 23

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

Round 1

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

UFC Vegas 23 Preview: Mackenzie Dern – Nina Nunes

Tomorrow on the main card of UFC Vegas 23 we are going to see a pretty important matchup in the strawweight division. Top eleven contenders will battle it out as Mackenzie Dern (10-1) takes on the returning Nina Nunes (10-6).

For Nunes, this is her first UFC appearance since giving birth last year. She has not competed inside the octagon since June of 2019 so it’s been almost a two year layoff for the fifth ranked strawweight in the world.

Nunes has had a very interesting tenure in the UFC so far. She made her debut back in 2014 and it didn’t start out well. She lost a decision to Juliana Lima. Then she had a year off before losing another decision to Justine Kish.

Following the back-to-back losses, Nunes had another year in between fights. However, when she returned to the UFC, she looked better than ever. Nunes won four straight which included wins over Angela Hill, Randa Markos, and former title challenger Claudia Gadelha.

The last time we saw Nunes was at UFC 238 where she lost a decision to Tatiana Suarez. It will be interesting to see how Nunes looks in her return after this layoff. Someone who knows all about that kind of a layoff is Mackenzie Dern.

Dern is one of the most hyped strawweights in the UFC. She is one of the best jiu jitsu practitioners in the world and she’s shown that off to the tune of six slick submissions in her career.

Like Nunes, Dern took a year and a half off after having a baby. She lost her first career fight in her UFC return, but since then, she’s been sensational. Since her loss to Amanda Ribas, Dern has gone 3-0.

UFC Vegas 23 Prediction

This is a really tough matchup to predict at UFC Vegas 23 and honestly I would stay away from it if I was a betting man. My biggest question mark is around how Nunes is going to look upon her return.

If both fighters were fresh and active, I really like Nunes. She has the grappling defense to keep this standing and I think everyone would agree that she is better and more fluid on her feet than Mackenzie Dern.

While Dern has made improvements, Nunes is the better striker. However, is Nunes going to be tentative and uncomfortable in her UFC return? Will there be any rust? Dern has won three fights in the last 11 months so we know that she’s ready to go.

I’m incredibly torn on this matchup, but I’m going to lean slightly towards Mackenzie Dern. If Nunes comes out looking like the same fighter she was in the third round against Tatiana Suarez, I think she can easily win this fight.

However, there are just too many questions around her UFC return. With Mackenzie Dern, this fight only needs to hit the mat once for her to find a submission. When she has that ace in the bag and factoring in how active she’s been, it’s hard to pick against.

Prediction: Mackenzie Dern by Unanimous Decision