October 9 is just around the corner, and so is UFC Vegas 39! The main event will be headlined by Mackenzie Dern, who’s taking on Marina Rodriguez in a strawweight fight.
Dern is currently ranked fourth in this category, and will certainly look to use her grappling expertise for taking on Rodriguez, who ranks sixth. However, even though she feels pressure coming into the bout, Dern is confident in her abilities. This is what she had to say during the UFC Vegas 39’s media day last Wednesday:
I’ve always said that I’m better under pressure. Always, since my jiu-jitsu career, like the regional events I always fight worse than the big events. I’m always able to kind of grow to the occasion.
This is what I’ve been waiting for, so I’m really, really excited about it.
Even though she’ll most likely rest on her Jiu-Jitsu skills in order to win the fight, Dern has been working a lot on her striking. She now feels more confident on the ground, but is nevertheless going to aim to take the match down to the ground and win there… Which is no surprise as 7 out of her 11 wins came through the power of submission:
Now they have to kind of think about my strikes, my punches, and the takedowns are coming way easier and that’s why my submission have come way easier because of how Jason Parillo is not making me a striker but making me a champion,
Coach is just making it easier to be the best fighter that I can be which is keep me with my roots but make me dangerous everywhere.
Rodriguez, on the flip side, is primarily a striker. She has a purple belt in BJJ, though; but Dern believes that the easiest way to win the match is by taking it down to the canvas.
I’m going against a striker. The strategy isn’t to be standing up there with her. I don’t want to compare my striking to her striking. Of course, if I go the whole five rounds striking, I’m ready for that, but I think the easiest way to beat her is by the ground.