UFC Fight Night Report: Mackenzie Dern dominates Angela Hill
On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card was headlined by a strawweight bout, as the eighth-ranked Mackenzie Dern looked to defend her spot in the strawweight division’s top ten against Angela Hill. Dern is a tremendously accomplished grappler, but possesses legitimate power in her hands as well, making her a genuine threat on the feet as well as on the ground. Hill is regarded stylistically as a striker but has made dramatic improvements to her ground game in recent years, and this would be far from the traditional striker versus grappler matchup that the fight may resemble on paper. In the co-main event, Edmen Shahbazyan faced Anthony Hernandez in a middleweight bout, as both fighters looked to climb into the rankings at 185lbs with a big win.
Brendan Fitzgerald provided commentary for this card alongside Michael Bisping, as well as Paul Felder, who joined the commentary booth after the second fight of the evening. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Viacheslav Borshchev and Diego Ferreira. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Mackenzie Dern and Angela Hill.
- Themba Gorimbo def. Takashi Sato by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Natalia Silva def. Victoria Leonardo by TKO at 2:58 of Round 1
- Chase Hooper def. Nick Fiore by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rodrigo Nascimento def. Ilir Latifi by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Gilbert Urbina def. Orion Cosce by TKO at 2:55 of Round 2
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Vanessa Demopoulos by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
- Viacheslav Borshchev def. Maheshate by TKO at 2:37 of Round 2
- Diego Ferreira def. Michael Johnson by KO at 1:50 of Round 2
- Joaquin Buckley def. Andre Fialho by KO at 4:15 of Round 2
- Loopy Godinez def. Emily Ducote by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Anthony Hernandez def. Edmen Shahbazyan by TKO at 1:01 of Round 3
- Mackenzie Dern def. Angela Hill by unanimous decision (49-43, 49-44, 49-44)
TAKASHI SATO (15-6, 170.5) VS THEMBA GORIMBO (10-4, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Sato quickly closed the distance, but Gorimbo was throwing hands back at Sato, keeping Sato from going on the attack. Gorimbo changed levels and shot for a takedown, however, Sato showcased some solid takedown defense, keeping the fight on the feet before briefly securing a takedown of his own. This extended grappling sequence played to Gorimbo’s advantage though, as he began to take control of the positioning, pressing Sato against the cage. The fighters traded knees to the body, before Sato tripped Gorimbo to the ground, where Gorimbo immediately scrambled into top position, quickly taking Sato’s back. Gorimbo could not secure the finish from Sato’s back but maintained the position until the end of the round. 10-9 Gorimbo.
Gorimbo dropped Sato with a huge right hand in the opening seconds of round two, and he followed Sato down to the ground as he attempted to finish the fight. Gorimbo threw down some brutal ground and pound, but Sato was able to weather the storm, and the fight returned to the fight. Gorimbo’s pressure was tough for Sato to overcome, as he found himself pressed against the cage for a considerable period of time, and even when he would find success with a brief takedown or strikes from the clinch, Gorimbo would quickly outwrestle Sato to take back dominant position and keep Sato from mounting a consistent attack. This was another round for Gorimbo. 20-18 Gorimbo.
The fight continued to largely play out in the clinch in the third round. Gorimbo took Sato down against the cage at one point and took the back of Sato as Sato attempted to post up and return to his feet, dragging him back to the ground. Gorimbo worked from Sato’s back throughout the vast majority of the round, and while he did not secure the finish, this was yet another clear round in favor of Gorimbo, despite a late flurry of ground and pound strikes from Sato, who took top position in the fights final thirty seconds. 30-27 Gorimbo.
WINNER: Themba Gorimbo by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Gorimbo’s wrestling was just far too much for Sato to deal with here. While Sato recorded a number of takedowns throughout the fight, Gorimbo was always able to get the better of Sato on the ground, and recorded the lone knockdown of the fight as well, getting the better of Sato everywhere in which the fight went. Sato is a heavy hitter, and defensively, he looked solid throughout the fight, but the output was not there, and he just spent far too much of the fight with his back to the cage. It was a strong performance from Gorimbo after a rather rough outing in his UFC debut, and this victory marked his first win in the UFC.
NATALIA SILVA (14-5-1, 124.5) VS VICTORIA LEONARDO (9-4, 124.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Silva got the better of Leonardo on the feet throughout their early exchanges, tagging Leonardo with short combinations whenever Leonardo attempted to close the distance. A powerful left hand dropped Leonardo, and when Leonardo picked herself up, Silva caught her with a barrage of head kicks that quickly forced referee Kerry Hatley to step in and stop the fight as Leonardo covered up.
WINNER: Natalia Silva by TKO at 2:58 of Round 1
Silva was an astronomical favorite going into this fight, and she made good on those lopsided odds with this performance. Silva clearly had a considerable advantage in terms of speed and was easily tagging Leonardo on her way in every time in which Leonardo attempted to close the distance. The damage to Leonardo quickly accumulated, and the knockdown just seemed to be the nail in the coffin for Leonardo, who seemed to be overwhelmed by Silva on the feet. It was an impressive performance from Silva, who is now 3-0 in the UFC following this win, with two stoppages.
CHASE HOOPER (11-3-1, 156) VS NICK FIORE (6-1, 154) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Fiore began the fight aggressively but was taken down by Hooper as a result. Hooper attempted a calf slicer, which allowed Fiore to take top position after avoiding the submission. Fiore moved into side control, but Hooper managed to escape to his feet, where he landed a short shot that put Fiore on the retreat momentarily. Both fighters found some success on the feet, with Hooper largely out-landing Fiore, although they were not the most damaging strikes. A flurry from Hooper towards the end of the round had Fiore in deep trouble, but Fiore was saved by the bell as Hooper teed off on him. 10-9 Hooper.
Fiore caught a kick from Hooper and took him to the ground at the start of round two. Hooper rolled for a heel hook, which allowed him to escape to his feet, and he went back on the attack on the feet, overwhelming Fiore with his constant forward pressure. Fiore seemed to have absolutely no answers for Hooper on the feet, and he was quickly beginning to tire from Hooper’s output. Hooper had landed roughly seventy more strikes than Fiore to this point in the fight, and while Fiore seemed to be the better wrestler, he was unable to do significant damage whenever he successfully brought Hooper to the ground. This was a clear round for Chase Hooper. 20-18 Hooper.
Fiore brought the fight to the ground at the start of round three, in a similar fashion to the way in which the previous round started. Hooper escaped after roughly a minute, where he continued to get the better of Fiore on the feet, before shooting for a takedown, taking an odd inverted crucifix position on the ground. Hooper postured up and started throwing down ground and pound strikes, but Fiore used this opportunity to escape to his feet, where he pressed Hooper against the cage. Hooper created some separation and proceeded to tag Fiore with a number of short combinations before taking the fight back to the ground. Hooper controlled the fight on the ground until time expired, landing a number of short strikes as Fiore attempted to return to his feet. 30-27 Hooper.
WINNER: Chase Hooper by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Throughout Chase Hooper’s UFC run, he has showcased some very solid grappling abilities, while often being several steps behind his opponents on the feet. This fight was quite the departure from his prior fights in the promotion, as Fiore seemed to have a slight advantage on the ground, while Hooper absolutely dominated the fight on the feet. Hooper pressured forward, where he threw out strikes constantly, tagging Fiore more often than not. Fiore had absolutely no responses for Hooper’s pressure on the feet, and looked completely overwhelmed whenever Hooper pressured forward, which allowed Hooper to take a commanding lead in their fight. It was a strong outing for Hooper in his lightweight debut, and while he certainly still has more work to do before moving on to higher-ranked competition, this was a very good outing for Hooper after a rough loss in his last fight.
ILIR LATIFI (16-8, 1 NC, 249.5) VS RODRIGO NASCIMENTO (9-1, 264.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
The fighters traded hands throughout the opening minute, with Nascimento using his reach advantage to get the better of their early exchanges. A short counter right hand from Nascimento got a notable reaction out of Latifi, who was swinging heavily despite the threat of Nascimento’s powerful counters. Latifi’s best weapon throughout the round was likely the calf kick that he went back to repeatedly, although Nascimento did not seem to be feeling the effects from them at this point in the bout. Nascimento flurried forward with a combination of strikes to end the round, although Latifi did a good job of avoiding the majority of Nascimento’s shots here. 10-9 Nascimento.
Nascimento continued to apply forward pressure in the second round, getting the better of Latifi on the feet. Eventually, Latifi opted to change levels, and he took Nascimento down to the ground with two minutes remaining in the round. Nascimento wrapped Latifi up in his guard, largely preventing Latifi from posturing up or advancing his position until time expired in the round, although Latifi did land some decent short ground and pound shots from this position. 20-18 Nascimento.
The fighters traded big punches roughly a minute into the final round, and Latifi seemed to be slightly hurt following the exchange. Latifi recovered, but was bleeding under his right eye, showing the damage from Nascimento’s big shot. Nascimento defended a takedown attempt from Latifi, and Latifi was issued a strong warning for grabbing the shorts of Nascimento. Latifi was not deterred however, and continued to chase takedowns for the remainder of the fight, largely holding Nascimento against the cage until time expired. 30-27 Nascimento.
WINNER: Rodrigo Nascimento by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Nascimento’s advantages in terms of height and reach allowed him to get the better of Latifi throughout the vast majority of their exchanges on the feet, countering strongly whenever Latifi closed the distance. With that being said, Nascimento was not quite as aggressive as he could have been, and Latifi was never out of the fight, to the point in which he actually won the bout on one of the judge’s scorecards. Three rounds between unranked heavyweight fighters is rarely an entertaining viewing experience, and this one was no exception, but Nascimento had his arm raised at the end here, and his UFC record now stands at 3-1 (1 NC).
ORION COSCE (8-1, 172.5) VS GILBERT URBINA (6-2, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Cosce missed weight by 1.5 lbs and was fined 20% of her purse.
A left hook from Urbina seemed to hurt Cosce as he pressed forward to begin the fight, and he quickly went on the attack as Urbina looked to capitalize on his early success. If Cosce was hurt, he recovered quickly but seemed to be a step behind Urbina on the feet, although his wide hooks were landing with power whenever they connected. Urbina eventually took the fight to the ground, where he landed strong ground and pound shots before he advanced his position and looked for a choke from top mount. He did not finish the submission but went back to throwing down ground and pound strikes until the end of the round. 10-8 Urbina on my scorecard, as he was quite close to finishing the fight by the end of this round.
Urbina was the advancing fighter in the second round, as he did a good job of utilizing his reach advantage to tag Cosce on the feet. Eventually, a front kick to the ribs of Cosce generated a huge reaction from Cosce as he bent forward to protect his body, and Urbina immediately capitalized, ending the fight with a pair of knees to the head.
WINNER: Gilbert Urbina by TKO at 2:55 of Round 2
Urbina largely dominated this fight, getting the better of Cosce on the feet, as well as on the ground. Cosce told his corner that he hurt his ribs in between rounds, and perhaps Urbina recognized the injury, as the front kick he landed to the body of Cosce in round two practically ended the fight, leaving Cosce unable to defend himself from the combination of knees that followed. It was a strong performance, and we got to see a better version of Gilbert Urbina here than we did in his UFC debut, where he fought Bryan Battle on very short notice in the Ultimate Fighter 29 middleweight finale.
KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ (14-7, 115.5) VS VANESSA DEMOPOULOS (9-4, 117.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Demopoulos missed weight by 1.5 lbs, and was fined 20% of her purse.
Kowalkiewicz caught a leg and landed a series of right hands to begin the fight. Kowalkiewicz was fighting aggressively early in the fight and was doing considerable damage as a result, but a left hook from Demopoulos slowed Kowalkiewicz’s attack for the time being. Kowalkiewicz was finding success with her right hand, tagging Demopoulos repeatedly, and she seemed to have a better read on the range between the fighters. The round was competitive, but I thought Kowalkiewicz landed the more damaging strikes throughout. 10-9 Kowalkiewicz.
The fighters exchanged looping right hands at the start of the second round. Kowalkiewicz easily defended a takedown attempt from Demopoulos, who shot from a considerable distance, and the fight continued to play out on the feet. The strike count between the two fighters was fairly even, but Kowalkiewicz was landing with more power, and she was doing a better job of mixing up her offense as well, although the right hands from Kowalkiewicz continued to be her best weapon. This was another round for Kowalkiewicz on my scorecard. 20-18 Kowalkiewicz.
Demopoulos pulled guard in the opening minute of the final round to get the fight to the ground. This move quickly backfired, as Kowalkiewicz landed strong elbows from side control, before returning to her feet. Demopoulos connected with a pair of strong jabs, before Kowalkiewicz responded with a right hook. The numerous right hands from Kowalkiewicz opened up a cut on the left side of Demopoulos’s head and caused visible reddening around that side of her head. The fighters traded shots to end the round, and while Demopoulos may have landed the harder strikes in this final exchange, she was unable to secure the late finish. 30-27 Kowalkiewicz.
WINNER: Karolina Kowalkiewicz by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Kowalkiewicz fought aggressively, and that aggression led to considerable success, as her output kept her a step ahead of Demopoulos throughout the bout. Demopoulos was never out of this fight, but Kowalkiewicz had a noticeable edge in terms of power, and as the fight progressed, Kowalkiewicz began to pull ahead in terms of output as well. Just two years ago, Kowalkiewicz had lost her fifth consecutive fight, and retirement appeared to be the next step for her. Her move to American Top Team changed things, and since switching camps, she has won three consecutive fights, looking as sharp as she ever has on the feet, with a much-improved ground game.
MAHESHATE (9-2, 155.5) VS VIACHESLAV BORSHCHEV (6-3, 154.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Maheshate partially landed a head kick roughly two minutes into the fight, but Borshchev got his arm up just in time, defending him from the brunt of the attack. Both fighters found early success on the feet, as Borshchev had the more creative offense, attacking both the head and body, while Maheshate seemed to have the advantage in terms of power. An accidental eye poke from Maheshate led to a pause in the action, and Borshchev seemed to be bleeding from the eye that got poked. Regardless, the action resumed, and Borshchev was the more aggressive fighter for the remainder of the round, landing powerful hooks and numerous leg kicks. In the final seconds of the round, Borshchev dropped Maheshate with a short right elbow, but there was not enough time remaining in the round to secure the finish.
A big right hand from Borshchev sent Maheshate back to the ground early in the second round, and while Maheshate was able to pick himself up, he did not look fully recovered. It did not take long for Borshchev to put Maheshate away however, as the next heavy right hand he landed dropped Maheshate hard, allowing Borshchev to follow Maheshate to the ground, where he finished the fight with some brutal ground and pound strikes.
WINNER: Viacheslav Borshchev by TKO at 2:37 of Round 2
Maheshate is a heavy hitter, but defensively, he has some clear flaws in his style, which Borshchev exploited here. Borshchev mixed up his offense well throughout the fight, and eventually, he started throwing with some serious power, which resulted in him knocking Maheshate down three times in fairly short order, eventually securing the finish. It was a strong performance from Borshchev despite the damage to his eye from the nasty eye poke in the first round, and he celebrate his stoppage with quite the extended dance routine in the middle of the cage. Borshchev is now 2-2 in the UFC following this win.
DIEGO FERREIRA (17-5, 136) VS MICHAEL JOHNSON (21-18, 136) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Johnson caught Ferreira with a lengthy combination of strikes early in their fight, as Ferreira was hunting for head kicks. Johnson had the clear advantage in terms of speed and was getting the better of the majority of the strike exchanges with Ferreira, although Ferreira was finding some success with his variety of kicks throughout the round as well. A right hand from Ferreira found its target, and Johnson responded with a vicious body shot, before tagging Ferreira with a left hand towards the end of the round.
Ferreira partially landed a head kick about a minute into the second round, before shooting for a takedown that was aggressively defended by Johnson. Just under two minutes into the round, Ferreira threw a heavy right hand that caught Johnson flush, knocking him unconscious in brutal fashion.
WINNER: Diego Ferreira by KO at 1:50 of Round 2
This was one of the most violent knockouts in recent memory. I thought Johnson looked good throughout the fight, consistently getting the better of Ferreira on the feet with his superior hand speed, but the shot that Ferreira landed to end the fight was absolutely perfect, and the fight was over the second in which it landed. Ferreira is not a fighter known for his knockout power, but this will certainly be a highlight reel knockout that will sick with people whenever they see Ferreira trading shots on the feet from this point forward. After three consecutive losses (against tough opposition), this was exactly the type of finish that Ferreira needed to keep his name in people’s minds, and his UFC record now stands at 9-5.
ANDRE FIALHO (16-6, 1 NC, 169.5) VS JOAQUIN BUCKLEY (15-6, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
Buckley was throwing with power from the opening seconds of the fight, looking for a quick, highlight finish. Fialho seemed content to fight defensively early, fighting very patiently as he did his best to avoid Buckley’s big swings. Eventually, Fialho began to look for offense of his own, however, Buckley took him down in an aggressive fashion to give Fialho a bit more pause, although Fialho bounced right back up to his feet. Buckley completed one more takedown before the end of the round, but once again, he could not keep Fialho down and establish control time.
The second round started with an accidental low blow to Buckley, resulting in a short pause in the action. Fialho connected with a solid straight right hand as the action resumed, which prompted Buckley to flurry forward as he attempted to even the score. Fialho was doing a decent job of avoiding these big movements from Buckley, but they were certainly coming close to finding their target, and Fialho was playing a dangerous game. Eventually, a head kick from Buckley dropped Fialho hard, and one last right hand to the fallen Fialho ended the fight.
WINNER: Joaquin Buckley by KO at 4:15 of Round 2
Buckley brought the fight to Fialho just as you would expect from him, and his aggression paid off with quite the brutal knockout victory. Fialho fought quite differently than he has in the past, with far more patience, and while it led to some success throughout the fight, it also led to Fialho getting backed up against the cage multiple times. Fialho was able to circle away from Buckley and avoid the vast majority of his big shots from this position, but eventually, Buckley caught him, and one big shot from Joaquin Buckley is all it takes to end a fight. Buckley is now 6-4 in the UFC, with five of those wins coming by way of knockout.
EMILY DUCOTE (12-7, 119.5) VS LOOPY GODINEZ (9-3, 119.5) – CATCHWEIGHT
Godinez cracked Ducote with a left hand to begin the fight. Godinez’s hands looked sharp early, cracking Ducote repeatedly, but Ducote was content to trade with Godinez and was landing some solid shots of her own whenever she committed to her counters. Still, Ducote was pretty far behind on the strike count, and eventually, she changed levels in an attempt to get the fight to the ground. Godinez was able to defend the late takedown attempt from Ducote, and the fight remained on the feet until the end of the round. 10-9 Godinez.
Godinez defended another takedown attempt early in round two and landed a number of knees to the head as Ducote worked her way out of the clinch. The second round played out much like the previous round although the strike count itself was far more even here. The fighters took turns landing their shots throughout the round, and neither could be particularly upset if the judges awarded this round to the other. With that being said, I thought Godinez was still landing the more powerful strikes, and I scored this round in her favor. 20-18 Godinez.
Ducote attempted to push forward in the final round, looking to continue building on the momentum that she began to generate in the previous round. Godinez was landing the harder shots, but neither fighter was doing considerable damage, nor was either woman changing anything about their strategy to clearly pull ahead in the fight. Instead, the fight continued to play out in the same way in which the previous two rounds played out, with the fighters exchanging shots at a fairly even rate, and the difference maker being Godinez’s perceived edge in power. 30-27 Godinez.
WINNER: Loopy Godinez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Both fighters had very high outputs throughout this fight, but Godinez was the fighter landing with more power, and she had a slight edge throughout the fight. Ducote attempted to take the fight to the ground a few times, but Godinez was able to defend all of her attempts, and nearly the entirety of the fight played out on the feet, where Godinez has improved considerably. Despite taking this fight on short notice, this was another strong outing for Godinez, who now holds a UFC record of 5-3.
EDMEN SHAHBAZYAN (12-3, 185.5) VS ANTHONY HERNANDEZ (10-2, 1 NC, 186) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
Shahbazyan appeared to wobble Hernandez with a quick jab, and he immediately started swarming Hernandez with short strikes as he looked for the early finish. Shahbazyan was landing some clean shots with serious power and eventually opted to take the fight to the ground, although Hernandez was quick to return to his feet. Hernandez landed a looping lead hook as he pressed forward before he started looking for a takedown of his own. Shahbazyan defended the attempt and started hunting for a guillotine choke. He could not finish the submission, but the fight went to the ground, where both fighters were hunting for submissions on the ground. The scrambles and transitions towards the end of the round were wild, as both fighters showcased their creative grappling ability, but in the end, neither man was able to pull ahead before the round ended.
Hernandez immediately brought the fight to the ground at the start of round two. Shahbazyan quickly escaped to his feet, where the fighters traded jabs, before Hernandez connected with a solid elbow. Shahbazyan appeared to be tired and was looking for a takedown, but Hernandez still had gas in the tank and was able to take top position as the fight went to the ground. Shahbazyan fought off a D’Arce choke attempt from Hernandez, but Hernandez was relentless and continued to chase after submission attempts as Shahbazyan was just desperately trying to hold on. Towards the end of the round, Hernandez opted to posture up, and he threw down brutal elbows to the head and body until time expired.
Hernandez took the fight right back to the ground as the third round began, where he started throwing down heavy ground and pound strikes, slicing Shahbazyan open with an elbow. Shahbazyan was trapped underneath Hernandez against the cage, gassed, and he just had nothing left to offer Hernandez by this point in the fight. Hernandez continued to throw down damaging strikes, and referee Herb Dean was forced to step in to stop the fight.
WINNER: Anthony Hernandez by TKO at 1:01 of Round 3
Shahbazyan looked good early in the fight, tagging Hernandez repeatedly on the feet, but he seemed gassed by the end of round one, and from that point onwards, Anthony Hernandez took over. Hernandez is a talented grappler, and he showcased that impressive grappling ability here, transitioning from submission attempt to submission attempt before eventually finishing the fight with ground and pound strikes. This turned into a dominant performance for Hernandez, and he will be knocking on the door of the middleweight rankings after this win, his fourth straight win in the division.
MACKENZIE DERN (12-3, 115) VS ANGELA HILL (15-12, 136) – STRAWWEIGHT
The fighters touched gloves to begin the main event. The fight quickly moved into the clinch, where they traded knees to the body before separating. Dern landed some heavy right hands, before swinging Hill to the ground with a hip toss. Hill was able to use Dern’s momentum to swing into top position before returning to her feet, where Dern knocked Hill back to the ground with a right hand. Dern followed Hill down, where she took top position with roughly three minutes to work. Dern worked her way into top mount late in the round, where she started throwing down heavy elbows, before transitioning to an armbar at the end of the round. Hill was able to hold on, and the fight would see a second round. 10-8 Dern.
Dern went right back on the attack at the start of round two, realizing that she had the advantage in terms of power. Hill wrapped herself around Derns back along the fence and caught her with a knee to the head as Dern turned into her. Dern exited the clinch exchange with elbows, and she landed a solid leg kick at distance before Hill opted to wrap Dern back up against the cage. A big right hand from Hill found its target before time expired in the round. 19-18 Dern.
Dern slipped to the ground in the opening minute of round three, and Hill opted to follow her to the ground, where Dern started looking for a triangle. Dern could not complete the submission, and the fight returned to the feet, where a big knee up the middle-rocked Hill badly. Dern took Hill back to the ground after rocking her, where she started throwing down brutal ground-and-pound strikes in an attempt to finish the fight. Hill managed to weather the storm from Dern for a very long time, eating some brutal shots in the process, but she just could not improve her position. The fight was extremely close to being stopped, but Dern opted to switch from the ground and pound strikes to an armbar attempt, and Hill fended Dern off until time expired. 29-26 Dern.
Hill pushed Dern against the cage for roughly a minute, before Dern created the separation that she needed, landing a hard leg kick, as well as a few heavy hooks. Dern started hunting for a takedown, and while Hill was able to defend the attempt, the fighters spent a considerable portion of the round wrestling against the cage, before eventually breaking apart with a minute remaining. They traded shots on the feet, with Dern seemingly landing with more power, before the fight returned to the ground for the final thirty seconds, as Mackenzie Dern once again ended the round in top position. 39-35 Dern.
Dern threw Hill to the ground at the start of round five, taking top position with the near entirety of the round to work. Dern took the back of Hill after a lengthy period of time on top, and she started hunting for a rear naked choke, but Hill threatened to turn, which forced Dern to change her approach, moving into full mount once again, where she threw down heavy elbows as she attempted to finish the fight. Once again, Hill did just enough to keep the fight from being stopped, and the fight went the distance. 49-44 Dern.
WINNER: Mackenzie Dern by unanimous decision (49-43, 49-44, 49-44)
Hill had her moments throughout this fight and displayed a remarkable degree of toughness, but by and large, this was a dominant performance from Mackenzie Dern, who absolutely mauled Hill with ground-and-pound strikes, while rocking her repeatedly on the feet as well. Dern showcased some legitimate power early in her UFC run, but we have not seen it on display throughout her last few fights. Tonight, she came out swinging, and Dern was finding her target more often than not, becoming one of the very few fighters to actually drop Angela Hill. While she was unable to secure the finish, this was unquestionably one of Dern’s best performances in the UFC, and after dropping two of her last three fights, this was the type of performance that Dern needed in order to reinsert herself among the strawweight contenders. After the fight, Dern called out Rose Namajunas, as well as Yan Xiaonan, who beat Dern by a majority decision last year.