Dern, a decorated submission grappler, comes into the fight on a two-fight winning streak that includes an armbar win over Randa Markos in her most recent appearance. Jandiroba, a former Invicta FC champ, has won back-to-back fights via submission, including her own armbar win in a bout against vet Felice Herrig.
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Round 1: Jason Herzog has the cage for this strawweight bout. Dern comes out looking to throw hands early and Jandiroba is bouncing around on the outside, looking for her spots. Cormier notes early that Dern’s striking looks markedly better from her last bout and it’s true. Dern looks like she’s been doing a lot of work on her hands. And she lands a good right hand when Jandiroba steps in to prove the point.
Two minutes in and neither woman has so much as looked for a takedown but Jandiroba may want to start. Dern definitely has the speed advantage on the feet and she’s landing some good overhands while avoiding most of the fire coming back at her. Not a lot of kicking for either woman though thus far. It’s been all boxing and now Dern comes forward a little wildly with a big combination. A few of those shots gets through and now Dern is on a single-leg against the fence but Jandiroba defends well.
Now they are clinched against the fence and Jandiroba lands a few good knees even with her back on the fence and so Dern breaks. Now Jandiroba lands a body kick that Dern almost ducks her head into. Dern is starting to load up on her strikes and she’s having less success now and her coaches tell her that much and ask her to start working the jab. Jandiroba lands a good one two and Dern again swings wildly but can’t land anything as the round ends. Competitive first round.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Dern.
Round 2: Jason Parillo really is a tremendous coach. During the break he tells Dern to bring it back to the beginning, where she was having success by not over-trying. Not sure Dern listened though as she came out with high pressure immediately. Jandiroba is now finding a home for a counter right hand when Dern steps in or out and that’s a good weapon. Dern is also ducking her head a lot and it’s opening her up for counters.
Dern throws a leg kicks that Jandiroba counters and sits Dern down but Jandiroba has no interest into going to the ground with Dern. Now Dern forces a clinch but Jandiroba spins her and lands a pair of big knees before Dern can separate. Jandiroba has really taken all the momentum here as Dern is getting very predictable. Now Dern lands a pair of big upper cuts when the two are in close and that’s a good wrinkle. Unfortunately, an inadvertent eye poke from Dern forces a break in the action.
Herzog gives Jandiroba plenty of time to recover and after a few minutes, things are back to business. And Dern comes off the break with a high pace, firing shots and pressuring. She shoots for a takedown and is close but Jandiroba fights it off and Dern ate some shots for her trouble. A knee to her nose opens up Dern pretty seriously and It looks like Dern’s nose is broken. Jandiroba gets the takedown now and Dern has the guard. Jandiroba is staying close and safe and Dern starts trying to roll on a leg. Jandiroba is aware though and time is short. Dern starts making progress but the round ends.
MMAFighting scores the Round 10-9 Jandiroba, 19-19 overall.
Round 3: In the corner, it seems like Dern is concerned about the broken nose but Parillo talks her away from focusing on it and calls for Dern to start wrestling more. It’s anyone’s game with five minutes left and Dern comes out strong, landing a big jab that has Jandiroba backing up.
Jandiroba is really only throwing 1-2s on the feet but they are landing freely and Dern shoots a low single that she’s close to getting. Jandiroba fends it off though and after some clinch work, they are back at range now. Another clinch and Jandiroba lands a head kick on the break. Both women are picking up the pace, trying to take this fight. Dern is all pressure but Jandiroba is countering ell. Dern ducks a big overhand right that hurts Jandiroba! Jandiroba backs up to the fence and Dern is on a single-leg. Jandiroba has great defense though and Jandiroba counters and now Jandiroba is on top. Dern’s corner is frantic that they can’t stay here and Dern shoves Jandiroba off and is now pursuing her in the butt scoot.
Two minutes to go and they are standing again and it’s going to be a test of wills. Dern and Jandiroba are just slugging it out now, right hands from the hip on both sides, with both women landing. This is a brawl and still, very close. With one minute left, it’s whoever wants it. Dern has landed much better in the last stretch and Jandiroba forces a clinch. Dern spins her against the fence and Jandiroba jumps a flying armbar but Dern is wise to it and they are in a weird tie-up with time ticking down. Just before the bell, Dern lands a good hammerfist but neither woman was able to put a stamp on it in the third.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Dern, 29-28 Dern overall.
OFFICIAL DECISION: Mackenzie Dern defeats Virna Jandiroba by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).