UFC Vegas 39 featured an exciting scrap between two strawweights gunning for a spot in the queue of contenders at 115-pounds.
Mackenzie Dern entered her first main event on a 4-fight winning streak. Some of the Brazilian-Americans ‘ notable wins include victories over Randa Markos, Virna Jandiroba, and Nina Nunes. Known as a grappling ace, any time a fight goes to the ground, the danger factor explodes with Dern. In particular, the strawweight has an uncanny ability to trap arms while grappling. With two of her last victories coming by arm-bar, it’s one of her most dangerous positions.
During the fight though, Marina Rodriguez properly utilized distance and kept herself from getting caught in any type of submission. The Brazilian’s boxing skills were on full display, but it was the knees up the middle that changed the story of the fight. Many thought Dern’s elite grappling would lend itself well to clinch work, however, Rodriguez for the most part controlled those portions of the main event.
The two battled it out and went the entire five rounds. While this was Rodriguez’s second time in a five-round fight, it was Dern’s first, and she showcased impressive cardio along the way. Since Dern came in with a #4-ranking, perhaps Rodriguez will steal that now. Even though Carla Esparza is waiting in the wings in hopes of securing a title shot, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly which route the UFC will take next in the strawweight division.
Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang are set to collide in an epic rematch in New York City, NY., on Nov. 6. Once the legendary trilogy has concluded, it seems the obvious two choices would be Rodriguez and Esparza.
Check out what the pros had to say following the chaos at UFC Vegas 39!
Do you think Carla Esparza or Marina Rodriguez should be next to fight for 115-pound gold?