Mackenzie Dern reflects on disappointing defeat to Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61: ‘I didn’t do what I came to do’

Mackenzie Dern
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: (R-L) Mackenzie Dern works for a submission against Tecia Torres in their strawweight fight during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Mackenzie Dern was overwhelmed with emotion as she reflected on her narrow defeat to Yan Xiaonan in the main event at UFC Vegas 61.

In what was a close affair Mackenzie Dern fell short in her main event matchup against Xiaonan. Dern had her moments during the fight and dominated her opponent in two of the five rounds with her superior ground game but ultimately was unable to secure a submission. The Brazilian fighter faced similar issues in her matchup against Tecia Torres but was still able to work effectively to secure herself the victory last time out.

Yan was able to display her much more effective striking out landing her opponent in the remaining three rounds to secure herself a majority decision victory.

Speaking at the UFC post-fight show Mackenzie Dern reflected on her own performance and credited Yan for her performance she produced.

“I didn’t do what I came to do, my goal was if I got it to the ground, I should be finishing it. I have the best jiu-jitsu, I believe, in the women’s division, so I had lots of opportunities to finish and she was just the better fighter than me. I just feel I’ve been getting so [much] better and it’s hard to not be able to show it in the fight.

“I have so much to grow and it’s all part of the journey and I just thank Dana [White], the UFC, my team, the Zuckerberg family for being here and making this such a great event. I’m sorry if I made anyone sad with my performance. So many people believed in me and I believed in myself, but it’s part of the game.”

Mackenzie Dern praises the toughness of Yan Xiaonan

Although Mackenzie Dern was able to able to find success in taking her opponent to the mat, she was unable to secure any submissions, which she knew would be needed in order to overcome the toughness of Xiaonan.

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“I knew that I was going to have to break her arm or put her to sleep,” Dern said. “She’s tough. That’s what I was saying the whole time coming in here — she’s a tough girl. I knew she wasn’t going to tap easily and then standing, she hits hard. The first couple punches … I was like, ‘This is going to be a dog fight.’ I knew it was going to be a dog fight but I really, really thought I was going to submit her. I was surprised with her defense. I don’t feel like her defense was the best defense, but I think that she’s tough so she’s hanging in there.

“That’s what I saw from Tecia, that’s what I saw from Marina, that’s what it is. The best of the best, they’re not going to tap from anything. I just need to keep working on my game, get my jiu-jitsu on point, be aggressive 100 percent of the time and get my striking better.”

Mackenzie Dern will now take the necessary time away to digest her performance which no doubt will see her have to climb further back towards a title shot. However, she does not want to be away for too long and promises a return soon enough to re-embark on her title charge.

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“Not too much [time off] but a couple of days [from now], I’m going to go to Brazil,” Dern said. “Take my daughter, stay on the beach for a couple days. I can’t take too much time off. Just keep working at it.

“Thankfully, I’m not injured. My face is a little beat up but no serious injuries, so just get back in there, definitely.” (Transcribed by MMAFighting)

Who would you matchup Mackenzie Dern against when she returns?

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