Mackenzie Dern’s dominating victory over Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 73 undoubtedly sent a message to the strawweight division. While a first-round finish would have been impressive, Dern’s all-out assault throughout the fight proved that she has evolved into much more than just a submission specialist.
The fight started with Dern coming out incredibly aggressive, landing punches that ultimately knocked Hill down and allowed her to take full mount. Dern’s ground and pound was on full display, and she even attempted to lock in an armbar, although Hill managed to defend herself. In the second round, Hill tried to slow down the pace and land some good shots on the feet, but Dern’s superior striking allowed her to maintain her lead.
The third round saw Dern return to her aggressive style, hammering Hill on the ground, and nearly submitting her once again. In the fourth round, Dern’s striking forced Hill onto the defensive, and she set a personal record for the most significant strikes landed in a single fight. As the fifth round began, it was clear that Dern was not letting up, battering Hill until the final bell.
After her victory, Dern expressed her desire to fight former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas next. Despite her interest in a rematch with Yan Xiaonan, Dern sees Namajunas as the bigger challenge and the opportunity to fight an ex-champion would be a career highlight.
Overall, Dern’s performance demonstrated her growth as a fighter. Her striking has clearly improved and her ground and pound is now a significant part of her arsenal. It will be exciting to see who she faces next in the strawweight division, but one thing is for sure: Mackenzie Dern is a force to be reckoned with.