Improving to 4-1 under the UFC banner at UFC Fight Night Vegas 11 on Saturday night – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace, Mackenize Dern certainly has sights set on an eventual title siege at strawweight.
The Arizona born grappling ace, now under the tutelage of renowned coach, Jason Parillo – utilised her ever-present grappling prowess opposite perennial 115-pound contender, Randa ‘Quiet Storm’ Markos over the weekend – to wrap up her most high-profile Octagon triumph to date.
Expected to showcase her much improved striking acumen, Dern wasn’t afforded that opportunity – with Markos choosing to follow the former to the ground after a miscued kick attempt which resulted in a slip. Initially threatening with a triangle, Dern then transitioned to the fence with Markos defending stoutly.
Wrapping up a taught armbar before the four-minute mark of the opening round, Dern forced an eventual tap despite some admirable determination from Iraqi born contender, Markos. The victory marked Dern’s second of the year, following a return to the win column opposite Hannah ‘Shockwave’ Cifers at UFC Fight Night Vegas in May – scoring a quickfire kneebar win on that occasion.
Speaking at Saturday night’s post-fight press conference, Dern explained her title aspirations, considering herself a contender for the crown as she hopes to round out and develop her overall skillset further.
“I definitely think I’m a contender,” Dern explained. “But I have so much to get better and so much to evolve, and I’m so excited to try all these new things and be so complete as a fighter. I think any person they give me, I’m going to show something new.”
Saturday’s submission of Markos for the #15 ranked Dern came as her third win via submission in the Octagon, and her sixth professional finish. Prior to her first professional loss at UFC Fight Night Tampa last October opposite fellow prospect and grappling ace, Amanda Ribas – Dern had scored a finish over Amanda Cooper, and a decision win over Ashley Yoder.