UFC Vegas 39: Mackenzie Dern vs Marina Rodriguez

Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern vs Marina Rodriguez Preview

Strawweight contenders are set to collide in the Apex this Saturday as Mackenzie Dern takes on Marina Rodriguez in this UFC main event.

In an interesting clash of styles, both fighters will look to make a statement in a stacked division. With both fighters coming into the bout on winning streaks, victory for Dern or Rodriguez will put them amongst the top of the division.

Mackenzie Dern (11-1)

Mackenzie Dern will look to continue her four-fight win streak this Saturday with a victory over Rodriguez. Only five years into her career and 28 years old, everything is falling into place for Dern at just the right time.

In her first UFC main event, Dern is showing she can fulfill her potential. Her winning streak and domination of opponents have made her one of the most feared fighters in the division.

Dern comes into the bout with three first-round submissions in her last four fights, with her lastest win a first-round armbar against Nina Nunes. Her kneebar submission against Hannah Cifers in 2020 was the first women’s leg lock submission in UFC history.

With three performance bonuses since 2020 and the ability to submit her opponents from any position, it is easy to see why Dern is so highly valued. Another quick victory against Rodriguez may make her too hard to ignore for a title shot.

Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2)

Marina Rodriguez will hope to stop the Dern hype train in its tracks with a victory this Saturday in her second main event.

Rodriguez arrives into this clash with two wins already in 2021. A knockout victory over Amanda Ribas was followed by a decision victory over Michelle Waterson.

Despite many overlooking Rodriguez, she should not be taken lightly. Her clinical striking makes her one of the most powerful strikers in the division. The knockout of Ribas has shown why it’s so dangerous to stand and strike with Rodriguez.

While she may not have the hype Dern has, a win would still be huge for Rodriguez. Even though the division has somewhat stalled due to the rematch of Rose Namjunas and Zhang Weili, the implications for this bout are huge.

Rodriguez’s only loss came to Carla Esparza, who’s left in the dark over her next fight. Victory over Dern could set her up for a rematch with Esparza, and a chance at redemption.

How will the fight play out?

Many view this fight as grappler vs striker. However, it’s more complicated than it suggests. Expect bout fighters to implement their game plan early to take control of the fight.

There is a sense that a fight will end the second Dern brings it to the ground. Dern’s submission skills are the best in the division, so expect Dern to attempt submissions at every opportunity.

However, Rodriguez’s height and reach advantage makes this a difficult task for Dern. Rodriguez will look to fight at the outside and use her jab to keep Dern at distance. Moreover, Rodriguez has one-punch power to put Dern in serious trouble. While Dern’s striking is slowly improving, it is not on the level of Rodriguez.

In an exciting clash in the most entertaining women’s division, a new contender will break through on Saturday. In Conclusion, the submission threat of Dern may be too much for Rodriguez to combat.

Verdict: Dern via submission

 

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