Canadian strawweight Randa Markos is looking to become the next fighter from the Great White North to find success at the UFC Apex. Fighting Mackenzie Dern at UFC Vegas 11 on Saturday, Markos is also hoping to bounce back from a loss to Amanda Ribas back in March.
Earlier on in the pandemic, countrymates Gillian Robertson and Tanner Boser became the first and second Canadian to win inside the Apex. Now, Markos is part of the Invasion of Windsor in Las Vegas, alongside T.J. Laramie. Both fighters hail from Windsor, Ontario. They’ll look to be numbers three and four for Team Canada.
Markos (10-8-1), for her part, gets a tough out in BJJ ace Dern on Saturday. Mackenzie is well known for her ground game, and while Markos herself is comfortable there, she’s not about to try to prove any points.
“If it goes there, I’m ready for it, but I’m not going to purposefully try to go to the ground,” Markos said during the UFC Vegas 11 media day. That said, she added later, “I find it easier when someone comes in with one strength somewhere in particular.”
While recognizing that Dern is mainly known as a ground fighter, Markos does believe that the American has evolved. “You can’t not evolve when you’re put in with the best women in the world and have to fight and figure it out,” said Markos. “She’s definitely evolved. I think I’m going to get a better version of Mackenzie Dern for this fight, and I’m ready for it.”
The best Dern or not, Markos suggested that “Technique-wise, I don’t think she’s anything special. On the ground, obviously she’s been doing that much longer than most of us, so I definitely respect her on the ground.” But what really stands out to her, said Markos, is Dern’s “ability to take a punch and keep coming at you.”
Making the BJJ expert’s chin something to keep in mind. As to how the fight might play out, “you can’t be 100% with what you might see, but I think it might go three rounds. It might go to a decision. But you never know what can happen. It’s the UFC.”
UFC Vegas 11 takes place this Saturday, September 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event airs live on ESPN+ (TSN in Canada).