We’ve got a strawweight main event on deck for October as Mackenzie Dern and Xiaonan Yan will clash in a pivotal fight. Dern is ranked #4 and Xiaonan is ranked #5, meaning that the winner of this one positions themselves extremely well in the 115lbs division. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
UFC Fight Night on Oct. 1 has a main event. Mackenzie Dern (@MackenzieDern) vs. Xiaonan Yan will headline the event at location TBD, per multiple sources. Nos. 4 and 5 in division respectively. pic.twitter.com/hqp0VcoHTw
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 8, 2022
Mackenzie Dern’s Big Oppurtunity
This fight marks a huge opportunity for Mackenzie Dern especially. She’s come on leaps and bounds since showing rudimentary skills in her early UFC bouts. Her BJJ is on another level from anyone in the strawweight division but it was always her striking that has let her down. Her wrestling is also an area that she needs to improve, with rudimentary skills in that area too. As we said, once she gets it to the ground, however, she’s the most dangerous fighter in any women’s division.
Having lost to Amanda Ribas in 2019, she went on a phenomenal four-fight winning run, securing three submission victories and notching a performance of the night bonus for each of these. She took a slight step back when she lost to Marina Rodriguez in an October main event, however, she rebounded against Tecia Torres at UFC 273.
If Dern can sharpen her stand-up game and improve her wrestling (her takedown accuracy is a shocking 9%) there’s a good chance she could get her hand raised in this one and see herself in the title picture entering 2023.
— MMASucka (@MMASucka) July 9, 2022
Desperate for a Win – Xiaonan Yan
Standing across from Dern will be Chinese star, Xiaonan Yan. Yan started her UFC tenure with an impressive six-fight winning run, all of which went 15 minutes. This run included wins over two former title challengers, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadelha.
She took a huge step backwards, however, when she was dominated by the current champion, Carla Esparza. Esparza recorded her first TKO finish in the UFC over Yan and did so due to her superior wrestling. Esparza landed three takedowns on her way to a second-round finish. She then looked to rebound against Marina Rodriguez, however, she lost again, this time via razor close split decision.
She will be looking for a victory against Dern in October in order to not fall to 0-3 and right out of contention at 115lbs. If she can get her hand raised, it puts her in a much more advantageous position with regards to a title shot.