Mackenzie Dern recently dropped into the ATOS headquarters in San Diego, California to get some extra grappling training in and she found a fantastic sparring partner in Rafaela Guedes. This session was undoubtedly a great experience for both women, as they have both reached the very highest levels of professional grappling at different points in the past. Dern also has a 13-3 professional MMA record and is currently ranked firmly within the top 10 of the UFC strawweight division, while Guedes is actually working towards an MMA career of her own in the future.
Both women are also preparing for some tough upcoming matches too, so every minute of sparring is incredible valuable to both of them right now. Rafaela Guedes is just a matter of days away from defending her Who’s Number One heavyweight title against Nathiely De Jesus at WNO 20: Night of Champions. Although Dern is smaller than Guedes’ opponent, she’s also one of the best grapplers on the planet and has a wealth of experience competing at the highest level of the sport.
On the other side of things, Mackenzie Dern is preparing to face one of the biggest challenges of her MMA career; former strawweight world champion Jessica Andrade at UFC 295 on November 11th, 2023. Although Dern is probably the better grappler, Andrade is also known for being incredibly powerful within the weight class and rounds with a bigger competitor like Guedes will undoubtedly help her prepare for that. Dern has also been open about a desire to return to her grappling career at some point in the future as well, and this might just be a sign that she’s taking that a little more seriously than it originally seemed.