Mackenzie Dern just put on one of the best performances of her professional MMA career against Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 73 on May 20th, 2023. Dern had a great run at the beginning of her transition to MMA and moved to the UFC with a perfect 5-0 record back in 2017. Since then she’s been steadily climbing the rankings of the women’s strawweight division and developing her striking skills to go along with the elite level of Jiu-Jitsu she already possessed. She had one minor stumble against Amanda Ribas back in 2019 but other than that Dern went 6-1 in the UFC and had established herself as one of the top competitors in the division by the middle of 2021.
That’s when Dern hit a whole new level of competition in the top 5 at strawweight and she experienced some rougher times. She went 1-2 over her next three fights and was coming into her fight with Hill off a loss, so naturally was looking to rebound and reaffirm that she belongs at the top of the rankings. It should have been a close match on paper as Hill is a veteran striker and could’ve presented some problems for the elite grappler. Dern came into the fight saying that she’d changed her grappling though and was looking to win every round in the fight instead of rushing for the finish.
It turns out that Dern has done exactly that and she won almost every minute of their five-round fight and earned two 49-44 scorecards and a 49-43 scorecard from the judges. Her grappling was on full display, but she also showed some huge improvements in her striking as well and put on a great well-rounded performance that could signal her ability to be a title-contender in the near-future. In the post-fight interview that Mackenzie Dern gave in the cage at UFC Vegas 73, she decided to use her time to call out Rose Namajunas as her next opponent while she was awarded the third degree on her BJJ black belt by her father Wellington ‘Megaton’ Dias.