UFC Fight Night Tampa Fighter Profile: Mackenzie Dern

UFC Fight Night Tampa Fighter Profile: Mackenzie Dern

By Ross Markey

Undefeated grappling ace Mackenzie Dern makes her long-awaited Octagon return this weekend in Tampa, against compatriot Amanda Ribas as she looks to move to 3-0 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It’s been a staggering seventeen months since Dern last featured in the Octagon, where she picked up an opening round rear-naked choke victory over Amanda Cooper. During the lengthy hiatus, the 26-year-old gave birth to her first child in June this year.

In today’s often grappling saturated UFC roster, Arizona born Dern is a definite standout as one of the most successful. With a trophy laden grappling career, the daughter of ‘Megaton’ Dias, the black belt is a three time Jiu-Jitsu World Cup gold medallist, ADCC World and North American world champion to name a few exploits.

In her still young seven fight career, Dern has displayed her finishing prowess with submissions of Mandy Polk, Montana De La Rosa and Kaline Medeiros to name a few. Against the equally dangerous submission specialist Ribas, Dern faces the most dangerous challenge of her brief Octagon stint to date.

Despite competing at flyweight before her move to the UFC in 2018, Dern elected to return to the strawweight limit of 115 pounds. After a narrow debut victory against Ashley Yoder, Dern was pitted against Amanda Cooper in Rio de Janeiro.

Tipping the scale at a controversial 123 pounds, the prospect came under intense scrutiny after the seven pound discrepancy and was fined 30% of her fight purse. Come fight night, the size different between the two were quite noticeable. Choosing to stand with Cooper, Dern landed a knockdown, mounted and then took ‘ABC{s}’ back and locked up a rear-naked choke.

In her narrow victory over Ashley Yoder, Dern once more displayed her standup arsenal, which admittedly, was quite limited and very rudimentary. Entering exchanges with wild hooks and her chin exposed on the break, Dern did display some signs of technique advancement against Cooper. Against Ribas, I’d prefer to see the Arizonian utilize her grappling offense earlier.

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