Mackenzie Dern Ekes Out Split Decision Victory in UFC Debut

Highly touted prospect Mackenzie Deren had a real battle on her hands at UFC 222 but she still found a way to get the win

Highly touted prospect Mackenzie Dern made her UFC debut on Saturday night but she had to gut out a split decision to earn her first win inside the Octagon.

With a championship background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dern had a lot of eyeballs on her first fight with many believing she could be a future superstar in the 115-pound women’s division.

Despite those high accolades, Dern was given a tough opponent for her debut as former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor Ashley Yoder didn’t show up just be cannon fodder.

In fact, Yoder gave Dern everything she could handle through the first two rounds including one stiff punch that appeared to knock down the submission specialist. Still, Dern battled through that setback and was able to control the clinch while working for takedowns against the cage.

Yoder did a tremendous job fighting off those attempts until finally in the third round, Dern got her to the mat and from there it was clear why there were so many people excited about her fight.

Dern wasted no time transitioning to the back and locking in her hooks before positioning herself to get the rear naked choke submission. Yoder did an admirable job fighting off the hands, but survive was all she was doing as Dern was battling to get the choke.

Time ran out but the third round helped Dern notch the victory in her debut.

“I am so happy to be here and, to earn my first UFC win, it feels absolutely amazing,” Dern said about her victory. “I’m very hard on myself so I really wanted to get the submission. I’m a jiu-jitsu girl so that’s always the goal and I’m disappointed unless I get it but I am also much more than just jiu-jitsu so going out and fighting a lot of stand-up was a fun and I’m glad I got to show that side of my game. I landed a lot of heavy shots in the first round and I’m proud of that. I want to continue to improve in all areas of the sport and I think tonight showed that I am working hard to be a well-rounded mixed martial artist. I can’t wait to get back out there and fight again.

“I am hoping to fight in Rio at UFC 224. Brazil is one of my homes and it would be an honor to fight for UFC in Rio.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.

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