Mackenzie Dern is now set to headline her first ever UFC event as she will take on fellow surging Strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez in a five-round affair at UFC On ESPN+ 54, on October 9th. This will mark a huge opportunity for both women as they sit at numbers five and six in the women’s Strawweight rankings and a win for either one of them would likely push them into the top three, right on the cusp of a title-shot.
At present, Dern is riding a four-fight win-streak into the match with three of them coming by way of submission. She has been a dominant force in her UFC career to date, only faltering once against Amanda Ribas back at UFC On ESPN+ 19 when she made her return to professional MMA competition just four months after giving birth to her daughter. Her opponent Rodriguez has also only lost once in her career, a split decision she dropped to Carla Esparza last year, since which she’s rattled off two impressive victories.
Rodriguez has been a little more prone to close fights however, as she’s also managed to fight to a draw twice in her UFC career against Randa Markos and Cynthia Calvillo. As it stands, Rose Namajunas is the reigning Strawweight champion after earning her title back from Zhang Weili with a first-round knockout and it the only logical next steps for her would either be to give Weili the rematch, or face Carla Esparza in another rematch of her first title-fight loss almost seven years ago. Whichever way the UFC decide to go, it seems likely that the winner of the headline match between Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez will face the remaining woman to determine who will get the next shot at the Strawweight title.
The full UFC On ESPN+ 54 event will be available to watch live on October 9th on UFC FightPass, click here to subscribe and watch.