After falling short at UFC Vegas 39, what’s next for Mackenzie Dern?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 39, we saw a pivotal matchup in the strawweight division. Top contenders battled it out as Mackenzie Dern (11-2) took on Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2).

Heading into the matchup, the path to victory seemed relatively clear for both ladies. For Dern, she was going to need to get the fight to the ground. She arguably has the best jiu-jitsu out of any female fighter in the UFC.

She has improved striking, but Rodriguez is so much more seasoned on the feet. Rodriguez needed to keep the fight standing where she was going to have a massive advantage, especially from range.

One of the things that concerned me about Dern going into the fight was her takedowns. Despite all of her submission wins, Dern is not effective at all with her takedowns. Coming into UFC Vegas 39, she was only succeeding at a 10% clip.

While the fight did touch the mat a few times on Saturday, Dern’s inability to take the fight down ended up being her downfall. Rodriguez controlled most of the fight on the feet and survived the grappling exchanges to win a decision.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 39?

For Dern, this fight is a reset. The surging contender had won four fights in a row and she was looking to become the star that the UFC believes she can be. As mentioned, she’s becoming more well-rounded, but she’s still a little too one-dimensional.

With the loss, Dern falls to 6-2 in eight fights in the UFC. She’s still one of the better strawweights in the world, but she has to continue to improve her striking and she definitely needs to improve her offensive wrestling.

If Dern can become a fighter who’s dangerous with takedowns, she can easily become a world champion. Now that her winning streak is snapped, who should be next for Mackenzie Dern?

Well, one fighter I like for Dern is a little down the rankings in Tecia Torres (13-5). Torres is just inside the top ten and she’s won three fights in a row. She’s been begging the UFC for a top contender and I think Dern fits the bill.

She showed great striking in her last fight, but she’s been known throughout her career for her wrestling. It would be an interesting stylistic matchup and it would be fun to see how both ladies would approach it. For Dern, it would be the slight step back she needs while still taking on a tough customer.

After impressive win at UFC Vegas 39, what’s next for Marina Rodriguez?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 39, we saw a battle between two of the best strawweights in the world. Top ranked contenders Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) took on Mackenzie Dern (11-2).

Heading into the fight, I kept thinking that the path to victory was pretty clear for both fighters. For Dern, it was going to be vital getting Rodriguez to the mat. Dern is not someone you want to go to the mat with and if you do, you’re likely going to tap.

For Rodriguez, she needed to keep the fight standing. While Dern had made significant improvements in her striking, she doesn’t have the distance control and preciseness that Rodriguez had. I figured a striking battle would show some holes in her stand up game.

Well, at UFC Vegas 39, we saw a lot of striking. While the two ladies were on the feet, it went exactly how I thought. It was fairly one-sided with Rodriguez landing the much better shots and controlling the range well.

Where I was wrong is how the fight went on the ground. I figured if it touched the grown, Dern would pick up the win. However, despite getting on top a few times, Dern couldn’t find the submission at UFC Vegas 39 and Rodriguez went on to win a decision.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 39?

This was a massive win for Rodriguez and perhaps puts her only a fight or two away from getting a crack at the UFC strawweight title. With that in mind, who should the promotion pair her with next.

In terms of rankings and winning streaks, the one opponent that makes sense is a rematch with Carla Esparza (18-6). Esparza is a former UFC champion and is the only woman to have defeated Rodriguez in her professional career.

However, I don’t see the former UFC champion taking that fight. I think she’s set on waiting for the winner of the rematch between Zhang Weili and Rose Namajunas. That’s a shot Esparza deserves and I think she’ll get it.

The fight the UFC should make is between Rodriguez and Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4). The former champion is hoping to return early next year and who wouldn’t want to see this battle between these two technical strikers.

Not sure that Jedrzejczyk would take it if the UFC offers, but that’s definitely the fight that I’d try to make next.

UFC Vegas 39 Preview: Mackenzie Dern – Marina Rodriguez

Tonight in the main event of UFC Vegas 39, we are going to see a pivotal showdown in the strawweight division. Top contenders will battle it out as Mackenzie Dern (11-1) takes on Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2).

Rodriguez will be making the walk for the eighth time in her UFC career. After entering the octagon for the first time a perfect 10-0, Rodriguez has gone 4-1-2 through her first seven fights.

Heading into UFC Vegas 39, she’s on a two-fight win streak. In her last fight, she fought Michelle Waterson, but the two fought at 125 pounds. It was an entertaining fight that Rodriguez pulled off by decision.

Standing across from Rodriguez tonight will be Mackenzie Dern. Dern has everything the UFC is looking for a in a potential star and she’s really coming into her own. Known for her tremendous jiu jitsu, it’s been her striking that has impressed in her last few fights.

After losing her first career fight to Amanda Ribas, Dern has gone on a four-fight win streak. She continues to look better and better and at UFC Vegas 39, she’s going to look to put herself in title contention.

UFC Vegas 39 Prediction

To me, this is a really tough main event to predict. On one hand, you know that if the fight touches the mat at UFC Vegas 39, Dern becomes a massive favorite. Marina Rodriguez doesn’t want to come close to touching the mat against Dern.

That said, will the fight ever get there is the question. Dern is not the best when it comes to landing takedowns. Despite her impressive wins by submissions in the UFC, she’s only succeeding on a little over 10% of her offensive takedowns.

Her submissions have come when others have shockingly taken her down or followed her to the ground. Rodriguez is not going to do this. In her last few fights, Rodriguez has looked like a sniper at range and I expect her to strike from the outside.

You should expect a lot of pressure fighting from Dern at UFC Vegas 39. She doesn’t want this to be a technical striking match because she will lose. She wants this fight in close and best case scenario it touches the mat.

I really thought I’d pick Dern in this spot, but I have a suspicion that Rodriguez pulls this off tonight. I think she’ll be able to land some nice counters and big shots from distance which will be just enough to score a decision. However, don’t be shocked at all to see a Dern submission if the fight goes to the ground.

Prediction: Marina Rodriguez by Decision

Mackenzie Dern on path to stardom ahead of first UFC main event

UFC strawweight Mackenzie Dern is unlike most other Americans in many ways (just listen to her speak), but the way she is perhaps most profoundly different is that she has found a way to flourish professionally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dern has enjoyed a solid push from the UFC brass ever since she debuted as an undefeated fighter back in 2018, finding herself fighting on main cards in 6/7 of her bouts for the promotion so far.

Yet, only one of those took place on an actual PPV event, while this will also be her first time ever headlining a UFC show in any capacity.

Despite many labeling Saturday night’s upcoming UFC Vegas 39 event as a serious contender for weakest card of 2021, there is still always something to be said for anyone headlining any event for the leading MMA company on the planet.

Up until this point, it has been generally believed that Mackenzie Dern’s popularity – both within the UFC brass and amongst fans – has mostly been based around her looks and social media presence (she currently boasts almost 1M followers on Instagram).

While that may have some truth to it, anyone would be a fool not to recognize Dern as the elite prospect (now entering her prime) that she really is. The Brazilian National heads into this fight against a super game Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) with a stellar 6-1 record in the UFC (11-1 overall).

The BJJ prodigy also has recorded four finishes (all coming in the first round and by submission) which is a very high finishing percentage, especially compared to other female fighters.

The women’s strawweight division is universally recognized as the toughest, deepest division in all of women’s MMA and the #4-ranked Dern has a chance to make another statement in the biggest spot of her career.

Will a win at UFC Vegas 39 lead Dern to a title shot?

With plenty of attention being focused on the upcoming 115-pound title rematch between Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang taking place on November 6th at UFC 268, Mackenzie Dern could do well for herself to score an impressive finish this weekend.

Taking out the very formidable, and #6-ranked 115’er in a main event spot could potentially be enough for the BJJ Black Belt to earn herself a title shot sometime in 2022.

More than likely, though, it’ll take one more win after this one to sew that shot up.

Crazier things have surely already taken place in the UFC, and you can bet Dern believes she is just one more fantastic submission away from getting her first shot at UFC gold.