Mackenzie Dern got back into the win column at UFC Vegas, with a quick submission against Hannah Cifers.
When it comes to writing about MMA fights, there’s a constant search for meaning. Why does a given fight matter? Why should fans care, beyond simple entertainment? If there’s a title on the line, or a boisterous character willing to self-promote, it’s simple. Most of the time that’s not the case, however. So here’s what was at stake in the strawweight contest between Mackenzie Dern and Hannah Cifers at UFC Vegas.
For Dern, it was a chance to silence critics, after she picked up her first MMA loss last October against Amanda Ribas. The highly decorated BJJ star wasn’t exactly blown away in the fight, instead going the distance with Ribas, but falling short on the scorecards. Yet Dern has always been a lightening rod for criticism; maybe it’s her looks, maybe it’s the hype she had coming over from the jiu-jitsu world. In any case, a strong performance in Vegas might quell at least some of those doubters.
For Cifers, it was another chance to knock off a hyped-up name. She’d had that once, in her promotional debut against Maycee Barber. But that came on short notice, less than ideal circumstances to be certain. The Dern fight had originally been another short-notice opportunity, but a delay due to the coronavirus actually gave Cifers the chance for a proper camp. Now, in addition to another well-known opponent, Hannah Cifers had a chance to show that she was more than just the girl who showed a ton of heart every time out.
Cifers immediately started with pressure on Dern to open the bout, and Dern got the fight into the clinch. Cifers was muscling Dern around in the clinch, landing big elbows and knees before throwing her off. Dern would land a quick right hand that got a smirk out of Hannah Cifers. Dern and Cifers would then get into a scramble that would end with Dern on the bottom. Cifers looked for some ground and pound from her feet and Dern would grab a hold of her leg. Reminder: you do not want Mackenzie Dern, basically the most decorated female BJJ practitioner out there, to get a grip on one of your limbs. Dern proceeded to look for a kneebar, and would soon get the tap. Great way to get back into the win column for Mackenzie Dern.
Too good on the ground! 👀
— UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2020
Dern didn’t just make it into the win column, either. She also made it into the history books — becoming the first woman in the UFC to finish a fight by any form of leg lock. Another feather in the cap for Dern, who has won gold medals at the black belt level in all the major BJJ tournaments out there.
Official Result: Mackenzie Dern def. Hannah Cifers by submission (kneebar), Round 1, 2:36