Mackenzie Dern sent a much stronger message to the UFC’s strawweight division with her unanimous decision victory over Angela Hill than any first-round finish could.
An incredibly aggressive Dern began the main event of UFC Vegas 73 with vicious intent, and it ended the same way as she pulverized Hill with an all-out assault on the feet, as well as the ground with her hands and elbows to earn a lopsided unanimous decision win. One judge scored it 49-43, giving Dern three 10-8 rounds, while the other two judges scored if 49-44 for Dern.
The opening stanza saw Dern come out incredibly aggressive, even knocking Hill down with a punch before eventually finding her way into full mount. Dern showed some nasty ground and pound — a new wrinkle in her game — before nearly locking in an armbar. Hill defended nicely and made it to the horn. Hill used a more methodical approach in the second, slowing Dern down and landing some good shots on the feet to chip away at the lead.
In the third round, things looked very similar to the first, although this time, Dern was ultra-violent on the ground, where she landed relentless ground and pound before nearly getting the arm of Hill once again. Dern’s much evolved striking paid dividends in the fourth round as well, forcing Hill to play defense more than offense as her opponent broke her personal best for most significant strikes landed in a fight.
Dern continued the onslaught in the fifth round as she continued to batter an ultra-durable Hill en route to the best overall performance of her career.
Following the win, Dern was asked what she wanted next, and while she said she would be interested in a rematch with recent opponent Yan Xiaonan, Dern turned the majority of her attention to former 115-pound champion Rose Namajunas.
“I don’t know what Rose is up to, but if she’s going to continue fighting, I want to fight Rose,” Dern told cageside commentator Michael Bisping.
“I’ve never fought an ex-champion. I feel like I could have that opportunity now.”