This is the UFC Vegas 39 live blog for Mackenzie Dern against Marina Rodriguez, the headliner of Saturday’s fight card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
The main event features Dern, the # 4 ranked fighter in the MMA Fighting Global MMA rankings, against # 5 ranked Rodriguez. Dern won four consecutive fights against Hannah Cifers, Randa Markos, Virna Jandiroba and Nina Nunes for fight your way into the title race. A decorated jiu-jitsu champion, Dern ended four of her six UFC wins via first-round submissions, including her armband finish of Nunes in her last outing.
Rodriguez is looking to keep her momentum going after streaking back-to-back wins over Amanda Ribas and Michelle Waterson, the first she finished via TKO in the second round. A 34-year-old Brazilian forward, Rodriguez has set an overall UFC 4-1-2 record since her promotional debut in 2018.
Check out the UFC Vegas 39 live blog.
Round 1: Both women look extremely calm and ready to show off on this (very welcome, by the way) card in nine fights. Rodriguez gives a quick calf kick to start and Dern tries to get inside, failing with a leg kick. Rodriguez lands a hard block on a kick from Dern. Dern lands a right hand and she ties Rodriguez against the fence. Rodriguez tries to defend himself by trapping an arm, but Dern frees him and the melee battle continues. Rodriguez manages to separate and gives the body a good kick. The last 30 seconds and Dern escapes a right hand from Rodriguez. Jab de Dern, hard right hand from Rodriguez. The big exchange of the two women ends with a big knee to Rodriguez’s body to the sound of the horn.
MMAFighting scores 10-9 for Marina Rodriguez
2nd round: Jason Parillo tries to get Dern to keep hitting a little easier. Dern listens to his trainer and tries to reattach Rodriguez, without success. Dern lands a big blow and looks for a big shot, Rodriguez defends but the fight is on the ground with almost four minutes to go, which is bad news for Rodriguez. Lateral control for Dern who now finds himself in a sort of suffocation of Rodriguez. Dern straddles Rodriguez’s head and searches for an arm. Seems like it’s only a matter of time, but Rodriguez tries to get out and Dern tries an armband on her legs, for real! Dern still has her right arm stuck, now takes the back with the two hooks with over a minute to go. Complete assembly and Dern unloading with big bangs. Rodriguez tries to use the fence but can’t get Dern out of her. It’s a 10-8 round for Dern, but Rodriguez survives which is huge.
MMAFighting scores round 10-8, 19-18 overall for Dern
Round 3: Let’s see how Rodriguez’s gas tank holds up after the nightmare of a second round. The leg kick lands and Rodriguez lands, although she has slowed down a bit. High kick partially lands from Rodriguez. Dern isn’t offering much on the toes right now and Rodriguez is taking advantage. Good combination from Rodriguez, and a hard kick too. Dern throws wildly and Rodriguez lands again with a short kick and uppercut. Dern charges, Rodriguez lands hard on the body before landing a three-hit combo. Last minute of the round and everything is on the toes, but Dern gets a body lock, a single, and Rodriguez lands a flurry of hammer fists before the horn sounds. Big rebound for Rodriguez.
MMAFighting scores round 10-9 Rodriguez, 28-28 overall
Round 4: Dern has to get this fight to the ground quickly or it will slip away more and more. They trade early and Rodriguez delivers an accidental low blow that causes the action to stop. Dern eats a right hand and kicks the leg as she charges, trying to close the distance. Rodriguez’s hard kick and body kick. Dern responds with a right hand. Rodriguez with a nice knee to the body because Dern can’t get in and she pays him. Rodriguez stuffs a teardown and is separating Dern on her feet as she seems to have found a second wind in this very difficult second round. The last 90 seconds of the round and Dern comes in with big punches, turns her back to her and she lights up mounted by Rodriguez to the body, maintaining a big combo to the head. Dern bends down and this thing hits the mat. Complete mount for Dern and she lands a flurry. Dern goes for the arm and the horn sounds. Ten more seconds, Rodriguez could be done. What a crazy rebound, but not enough to win the round for Dern.
MMAFighting scores round 10-9, Rodriguez 38-37 overall
Round 5: Parillo wants Dern to cut that 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 kicks the body. Dern eats a big left hook and it stung him. Rodriguez’s kick connects and Dern almost puts the fight to the ground, Rodriguez gets back on his feet, but Dern lands a heavy blow. Rodriguez’s big right hand narrowly misses in the final two minutes. Rodriguez’s big left hand, right hand on top and Dern needs a takedown right now or she will lose this fight for sure. Dern gets a body lock with double hooks under 45 seconds and has to do something past his opponent’s corner. Rodriguez gets a split and a huge knee, and with that, more than likely the biggest win of his career.
MMAFighting marks round 10-9 and fight 48-46 for Rodriguez
OFFICIAL RESULT: Marina Rodriguez beat. Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)