They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and mixed martial arts fans will see if that phrase is accurate when Mackenzie Dern of the United States steps into the octagon against Yan Xiaonan during the UFC Fight Night on October 2 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dern and Xiaonan headline the busy fight card, facing each other in the women’s strawweight division.
Dern goes into the fight against Xiaonan as a clear favorite in the latest UFC betting markets online, and it is easy to see why. The 29-year-old is a phenomenal talent with combat sports in her blood. Dern’s Brazilian father, Wellington “Megaton” Dias, is a highly decorated grappling competitor; he began training Dern and her stepmother in the art of fighting when Dern was only three years old.
Dern Is Deadly When It Comes to Submission
Three months before her 20th birthday, Dern progressed to black belt and won a world championship at every belt level along the way. The submission grappling specialist won an incredible 15 gold medals between 2012-12, with nine of those golds coming in 2015 alone.
Dern made her UFC debut at UFC 222 in March 2018, defeating Ashley Yoder by split decision. She stepped into the octagon again only two months later and beat Amanda Cooper by submission, using a deadly rear-naked choke. Dern’s professional MMA record currently stands at 12 wins and two defeats, with seven of her victories stemming from submissions.
Has Xiaonan Got The Power To Worry UFC Athletes?
Xiaonan is a talented fighter herself; one ranked sixth in the UFC women’s strawweight division, one place below Dern. Her professional MMA career reads 15 wins and three defeats, which is impressive, but two of those losses have come in Xiaonan’s previous two fights, hence her going into the Dern battle as the clear underdog.
Xiaonan’s first six fights on the UFC tour were all victories that came via unanimous decision. Those victories are in stark contrast to the nine wins on other tours, where seven came via knockout. Has the leap to the UFC been a step too far for the Chinese 33-year-old?
Worrying for Xiaonan is she has struggled against women considered top-tier UFC fighters. Carla Esparza dominated Xiaonan on the ground before winning via TKO. Esparza has since gone on to become the UFC Women’s Strawweight champion. Again, last time out, Marina Rodriguez, ranked third in this division, won the fight via a split decision. Xiaonan started strongly, but nobody would have batted an eyelid if the judges had gone in Rodriguez’s favor.
How Will The Dern Versus Xiaonan Fight Pan Out?
This clash has all the hallmarks of a Dern victory within the distance, although it should be an exciting fight because of the contrasting styles. Dern is a submission specialist and an expert in BJJ but has never finished any of her opponents by knockout or TKO. On the other hand, Xiaonan does have seven knockouts on her resume, but none have some at the elite level of the UFC, which puts some question marks over her striking power.
The only way Xiaonan beats Dern is if she gets in early and hurts Dern. Xiaonan’s grappling skills are severely lacking and are not even on the same page as Dern’s. If Xiaonan cannot cause Dern some damage when standing toe-to-toe, it is all but guaranteed Dern will take the fight to the ground and most likely smother Xiaonan into submission.
This fight will not go the distance despite three of Dern’s last four battles doing so and seven of Xiaonan’s eight UFC fights doing the same.