Meet Mackenzie Dern, mixed martial artist. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist displayed her complete skillset in a dominant performance over Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night on Saturday.
Dern's reputation as one of the most accomplished women in grappling has been a gift and curse for her MMA career. She has generally performed well inside the Octagon, but the limitations of her game were exposed against other top contenders. That was not the case in Las Vegas. Dern showcased improved striking, takedowns and mindfulness to win rounds while nearly handing the 28-fight veteran her first TKO loss.
Round 3 was particularly impressive. Dern wobbled Hill with a knee before the fight hit the mat. The submission specialist bludgeoned Hill's eye with ground-and-pound punches and elbows before nearly completing an armbar. The significant strike tally was 41-1 in Dern's favor and the 126 she achieved over five rounds was a career-best. The judges scored the fight 49-43, 49-44 and 49-44 for Dern, suggesting that one judge scored three 10-8 rounds for Dern while the remaining officials gave Dern two 10-8 rounds.
"I don't know what Rose [Namajunas] is up to," Dern told UFC commentator Michael Bisping post-fight. "I never fought an ex-champion. I feel like I could have that opportunity now."
Dern, who suggested a rematch against Yan Xiaonan should Namajunas or other former champions be unavailable, improved to 13-3 overall. Hill dropped to 15-13 after winning back-to-back fights.