Mackenzie Dern has a chance to show her full skillset in this main event as she takes on Angela Hill. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist was highly touted upon her arrival in the UFC and has been impressive, though she did fall short against top contenders with better well-rounded games.
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The UFC returns to the Las Vegas area for another evening of MMA action. This time, the women take center stage with strawweight contenders Mackenzie Dern and Angela Hill in a main event matchup.
Both of these fighters are in the top 15 in the division. They are both looking to improve on recent losses, and this fight has the potential to be one of the biggest of their careers.
Dern gets off to a fast start, landing heavy strikes and getting her way into the clinch. She tries to take down Hill, but she’s able to escape and land some hard knees in the process.
Hill tries to get back to her feet and she gets the opening she needs for a flurry, but Dern is able to break it up with a good left hook. She lands some short shots on the break, and then moves into side control. Hill tries to get back to her feet, but she can’t do so. Dern continues to bomb away with short punches and some heavy elbows.
Hill is the more experienced fighter with 41 professional rounds, but she hasn’t been able to string together wins lately. Her last outing came against Xiaonan Yan, and she’s looking to rebound in this fight. The jiu-jitsu expert is also the more dangerous fighter on the ground and in the submission game. She has a lot of tools in her arsenal, and it will be interesting to see how well she utilizes them.
A decorated jiu-jitsu specialist and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Mackenzie Dern enters this fight against Hill with a high level of expectation. However, a lack of power on her striking and rudimentary takedown defense has often stifled her chances of getting a finish inside the Octagon.
Despite this, Dern has proven she can compete with the best in the division and is capable of winning rounds with both her grappling and striking skills. In addition to her complete skill set, she also has the requisite mental strength to overcome adversity in MMA.
In Round 2, Dern starts off aggressively with a quick rocking blow and looks to grab a clinch early. She tries to take down Hill but her attempts are countered and she finds herself in the center of the ring. From there, she drops heavy knees to the body and wears down Hill.
Hill continues to defend her takedown attempts and has good takedown defense, but she isn’t nearly as effective on the ground as Dern. The submission specialist works her way into side control and eventually takes mount. From there, she starts dropping a flurry of ground strikes.
She looks for an armbar but Hill holds on. Herzog is letting them work here and it’s not clear which fighter is showing signs of fatigue. Hill is still fighting hard though and she may have to continue to do so if she wants to make this a competitive fight. She isn’t able to break free and is forced to hold on until the round ends. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Dern. She is now 13-2 in her MMA career. The 28-fight veteran drops to 15-13.
Mackenzie Dern comes into this bout looking to continue her climb towards the top of the women’s strawweight division. Hill is a veteran who has been in the sport longer than Dern, and she’s a very dangerous fighter. She’s shown a lot of improvement during her time in the UFC, but she also has a reputation for splitting decisions with opponents that she should easily defeat.
Round 3 begins with both fighters feeling each other out in the early goings. Dern lands a few big punches and a leg kick to get some space but Hill responds well and moves straight into a clinch. She attacks with double underhooks and a Whizzer to keep the pressure on. Hill tries to turn around and get an armbar but she’s fended off for now.
As the fight continues, Dern starts to pick up some momentum with her ground game. She has a ton of creativity with her grappling, and she’s able to pull out several submission finishes. She’s also able to create a lot of problems for her opponent when she can’t catch them with power shots.
Toward the end of the round, Dern is able to get Hill on her back and rip some short punches into her. Hill tries to escape but she’s unable to and Dern takes her back to the fence. She rips at her with elbows and is nearly able to get an armbar.
This was a fun fight to watch and it should be another good showing for Dern. She may still be a little bit inconsistent, but she’s a high-level submission artist who has shown enough progress to challenge for the title in 2023.
Mackenzie Dern showed off her complete skillset in a dominant win over Angela Hill in the main event of UFC Fight Night. The decorated jiu-jitsu specialist was able to pressure her opponent through the entire fight.
The first few rounds of the contest were all about establishing range and making it difficult for either fighter to take any significant advantage in the grappling department. While Hill did a fine job of using her length and height to her advantage in those early exchanges, she would get overthrown in more than a few instances by Dern’s combinations.
At the same time, it was clear that Dern had improved her ability to impose her will in the clinch as well. She used her reach to rip big punches into Hill and smothered her opponent when she tried to work for trips or takedowns.
As the fight entered its final round, it seemed like the best way for both fighters to score was by taking Hill to the ground and pounding away. However, Hill’s defensive posture and lack of power in her striking game prevented her from gaining any real advantage in those areas.
Hill is a solid competitor and she will probably see her name rise if she lands a few more significant finishes over the course of her career. However, her record is riddled with controversial decisions, and that could prove problematic against a top-tier opponent. A win against Dern will likely score her a spot in the Top 10 for the first time in her career. A loss, on the other hand, will set her back significantly.
Dern is taking advantage of Hill’s slow hands as she works the clinch and gets some heavy elbows to rock her opponent. She moves to mount and hits Hill with some powerful punches before working on her back and attacking an arm-triangle.
Hill can’t break free as Dern continues to press. She rocks Hill with a huge knee and then puts her back to the fence to set up a takedown. But Hill fends it off and then escapes into a half guard, where she lands some good punches to wear down Dern.
The fighters exchange wildly on the feet as they close out the round. Dern misses a spinning back fist and then grabs the back of Hill, who’s trying to defend an armbar. She can’t get it but she’s wearing down the Californian.
Round 5 begins and the two continue to slug it out. Hill throws a few big kicks but is unable to keep up with the striking power of Dern. She tries to pull her opponent to the ground for a head-and-arm throw but it’s reversed by Hill, who then lands some big shots of her own.
Both women continue to fight hard as the round ends and the crowd is stoked for another great matchup of female fighters. Hill is a solid grappler with the ability to hurt her opponents inside and outside of the ring, but she has struggled to find consistency over the course of her career. On the other hand, Dern is a well-rounded athlete with the potential to make waves in the strawweight division. She’s a dangerous striker who possesses some of the best hand speed in the sport and has an impressive arsenal of attacks.