Mackenzie Dern Triumphs Over Ashley Yoder In UFC Debut

Mackenzie Dern Triumphs Over Ashley Yoder In UFC Debut”

The women's strawweight bout closed out the preliminary card of today's UFC 222 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Dern kicked to the lead leg early, then again. She immediately started throwing bombs after that and landed with a right. Yoder fought against the takedown for more than a minute, then was able to break off 90 seconds into the round. Yoder then went to the body with a heavy kick, and you had the feeling that Dern might be a little too wild for her own good.

Yoder threw an inside leg kick that nearly took Dern off of her feet. Ashley got back up, but Dern took the back. Yoder countered and landed nicely just before the horn. That said, Yoder remained a tough test for the debuting Dern, who was supremely skilled on the ground, but still a work in progress on the feet. While sloppy, she threw with enough power to force Yoder to retreat. She looked far more comfortable pressing Yoder into the fence, changing levels, and briefly taking her down. But with 2:50 left, they were split up to restart in the middle. Yoder lands a few kicks and a straight left hand. She let her back up, but clearly sent a message. Dern goes for a takedown late but again doesn't get it. 10-9 Yoder. Dern landed a big right and pressed Yoder on the fence. She tried an elbow on the break, but Yoder fired back. Dern missed a right hand, then found herself in another tie-up. There is a lot of hype around her, like Paige VanZant and Sage Northcutt, but the difference is Dern has world-class skills. She didn't want to shoot for takedowns, she wanted to strike her way into clinching distance where she could finally get the hooks in. Mackenzie peppered her opponent with knees and takedown attempts, but the she couldn't get Yoder down.

Dern had shown a willingness to exchange on the feet in her previous fight, and she did that same in her coming out party at UFC 222. But Yoder kept fighting the choke and survived it to get the horn. She's a young 24-year-old fighter coming in with a flawless 5-0 MMA record.

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