Rodriguez upsets Dern in UFC Fight Night main event
Marina Rodriguez defeated Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) in the strawweight main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
The 34-year-old Brazilian dominated most of the fight, torching Dern with her striking and doing a solid job of avoiding her opponent's takedown attempts.
Dern's best moment came in the second round when she used her standout grappling to put Rodriguez in survival mode for several minutes. But Rodriguez was able to bounce back in Round 3 and beyond while staying upright and striking.
"I had to pace myself," Rodriguez said postfight, according to Damon Martin of MMA Fighting. "We had five rounds to work, so we worked a little bit slower than usual, but there was a point for it."
"I've been ready to fight five rounds, to fight for a title since the day I started this thing," she added. "That's what we've been preparing for. I know (that) some girls may be ahead of me in line, but if they're not available, I know I'm going to be."
The win caps off a perfect year for Rodriguez, who won all three of her fights in 2021. She entered Saturday's event as the sixth-ranked strawweight.
Dern, who's No. 4 in the strawweight division, had won her previous four fights before Saturday, including a first-round submission victory over Nina Nunes in April.