UFC 298: Amanda Lemos Puts Beating on Gutsy Mackenzie Dern

Amanda Lemos and Mackenzie Dern, UFC 298
Amanda Lemos and Mackenzie Dern, UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Stepping in to replace Tatiana Suarez on roughly a month’s notice at UFC 298 was Mackenzie Dern, paired up with recent title challenger Amanda Lemos.

The strawweight showdown saw Dern paying for her enthusiasm early, with her lead leg chewed up by some nasty Lemos calf kicks. After coming up short in the standup, Dern changed levels and timed a picture-perfect takedown roughly halfway through the opening round, changing the complexion of the fight to that point. Dern briefly threatened to mount, looked to improve position, and tried to set up an arm-triangle choke during her top time, while Lemos tried to sit up against the cage.

That proved to be easier said than done, with Dern at one point trapping one of Lemos’ arms with her knee. Dern, a jiu-jitsu champ prior to her UFC career, again came dangerously close to passing to mount, while also threatening with an arm-bar. Lemos, however, used her butterfly guard to elevate Mackenzie Dern, preventing her from mounting.

In round two, Dern did what she could to avoid the kicks of Lemos, while trying to get her own hands going. And inside of a minute, that calf kick landed, causing a stumble. Moments later, Dern was tagged by a right hand charging in and under heavy fire! Dern was tagged again, and covered her face, seemingly done, but the ref let things go even as Lemos pummeled the American. Dern covered up, took more damage, and still ref Mike Beltran allowed it to keep going. Dern finally tied up Lemos, allowing her some recovery time despite being battered and bloodied.

From her back, Dern went hunting for a leg lock, before Lemos pulled free and finally backed off. That forced Dern back to her feet; she then hurled a right hand at Lemos, backing the Brazilian up. Another calf kick, however, had Dern on skates. Dern, improbably, then walked forward, trading, and went after a takedown— only to have it stuffed. Instead, it was Lemos taking Dern down, though Mackenzie Dern off her back was still a dangerous Mackenzie Dern, and moments later she proved it, sweeping to top.

Round three was notable simply for Mackenzie Dern still being in it. And she was, rocking Lemos early. When they tied up, Dern pulled guard, welcoming the trip to the ground. Dern then displayed incredible flexibility, trying to sweep or lock up an arm-bar. Neither options worked out, as the pair were in close against the fence. Instead, Dern moved into a leg lock, and Lemos had moved into purely defensive mode.

From there, Dern moved to top and settled into half-guard. There she found some space to land elbows, first one than another. Lemos tied her up, but had gassed, allowing Dern to spend more time on top, though the potential of a 10-8 round for Amanda Lemos in round two loomed large. The pair got back to the feet, went down once more, with Dern hunting a leg lock off her back and Lemos dropping a few final punches.

Official Result: Amanda Lemos def. Mackenzie Dern by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)