The main event features Dern, the No. 4-ranked fighter in the MMA Fighting Global MMA Rankings, against the No. 5-ranked Rodriguez. Dern has won four consecutive fights over Hannah Cifers, Randa Markos, Virna Jandiroba, and Nina Nunes to work her way into title contention. A decorated jiu-jitsu champion, Dern has ended four of her six UFC victories via first-round submissions, including her armbar finish of Nunes in her most recent outing.
Rodriguez looks to continue her winning ways after stringing together back-to-back victories over Amanda Ribas and Michelle Waterson, the former of which she finished via second-round TKO. A 34-year-old striker out of Brazil, Rodriguez has put together a 4-1-2 overall UFC record since her 2018 promotional debut.
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Round 1: Both women look extremely calm and ready to put on a show on this (very welcome, by the way) nine-fight card. Rodriguez lands a quick calf kick to begin things and Dern trying to get inside, coming up short with a leg kick. Rodriguez lands a hard counter on a Dern kick. Dern lands a right hand and she ties Rodriguez up against the fence. Rodriguez trying to defend by trapping an arm, but Dern frees it and the clinch battle continues. Rodriguez able to get separation and lands a nice kick to the body. Final 30 seconds and Dern evades a right hand from Rodriguez. Jab from Dern, hard right hand from Rodriguez. Big exchange from both women ends in a big knee to the body from Rodriguez as the horn sounds.
MMAFighting scores it 10-9 for Marina Rodriguez
Round 2: Jason Parillo trying to get Dern to keep the striking a little more simple. Dern listens to her coach and tries to tie Rodriguez back up, unsuccessful. Dern lands a big shot and looks for a big throw, Rodriguez defends but the fight is on the ground with almost four minutes to go which is bad news for Rodriguez. Side control for Dern who now finds her self in a choke of some sort from Rodriguez. Dern steps over the head of Rodriguez and looks for an arm. Seems like it’s a matter of time, but Rodriguez tries to hulk out and Dern is trying an armbar with her legs, for real! Dern still has the right arm trapped, now takes the back with both hooks in with over a minute to go. Full mount and Dern unloading with big shots. Rodriguez trying to use the fence but can’t get Dern off of her. This is a 10-8 round for Dern, but Rodriguez survives, which is massive.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-8, 19-18 overall for Dern
Round 3: Let’s see how Rodriguez’s gas tank holds up after a nightmare of a second round. Leg kick lands, and Rodriguez is landing, although she has slowed down a tad. High kick partially lands from Rodriguez. Dern isn’t offering much on the feet right now and Rodriguez taking advantage. Good combination from Rodriguez, and a hard leg kick as well. Dern throwing wildly and Rodriguez lands again with a kick and a short uppercut. Dern charges in, Rodriguez lands hard to the body before landing a three-punch combo. Final minute of the round and it’s been all on the feet, but Dern gets a body lock, a single, and Rodriguez lands a flurry of hammer fists before the horn sounds. Great bounce back round for Rodriguez.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Rodriguez, 28-28 overall
Round 4: Dern needs to get this fight to the ground quickly or this is going to slip away more and more. They exchange early and Rodriguez lands an accidental low blow which leads to a stop in the action. Dern eats a right hand and a leg kick as she charges in trying to close the distance. Hard leg kick, and body kick from Rodriguez. Dern answers with a right hand. Rodriguez with a nice knee to the body as Dern can not get inside and she is paying for it. Rodriguez stuffs a takedown and is just picking Dern apart on the feet as she appears to have found a second wind from that really tough Round 2. Final 90 seconds of the round and Dern comes in with big shots, turns her back and she gets lit up by Rodriguez to the body, now a big combo to the head. Dern ducks under and this thing hits the mat. Full mount for Dern and she lands a flurry. Dern going for the arm and the horn sounds. Ten more seconds, Rodriguez might be done. What a crazy bounce back, but not enough to win the round for Dern.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9, 38-37 Rodriguez overall
Round 5: Parillo wants Dern to get this down quickly, and that would be super imperative. Dern lands a right hand, Rodriguez rushes in with a combination of punches. Dern can’t get inside enough and Rodriguez lands a kick to the body. Dern eats a big left hook and that stung. Leg kick from Rodriguez connects and Dern almost gets the fight to the ground, Rodriguez gets back to her feet, but Dern lands a hard shot. Big right hand from Rodriguez just misses in the final two minutes. Big left hand from Rodriguez, right hand over the top and Dern needs a takedown right now or she will lose this fight for certain. Dern gets a body lock with double under hooks with 45 seconds left and needs to make something happen in front of her opponent’s corner. Rodriguez gets separation and a huge knee, and with that, more than likely the biggest win of her career.
MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 and the fight 48-46 for Rodriguez
OFFICIAL RESULT: Marina Rodriguez def. Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)