The APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great day of fights at UFC Vegas 39: Dern vs. Rodriguez. The card saw two (T)KOs, two submissions and five decisions.
Performance of the Night: Mariya Agapova, Loopy Godinez
Fight of the Night: Marina Rodriguez vs. Mackenzie Dern
The prelims opened with a quick fight that saw Charlie Ontiveros on the receiving end of an early, first round TKO at the hands of Steve Garcia. That was followed up by Loppy Godinez snatching another quick finish, this time a first round armbar over Silvana Gomez Juarez. Charles Rosa was defeated via unanimous decision by Damon Jackson in a bloody fight befitting the month of October. Rosa received some heat for holding onto a kneebar after the bell, but overall, this was the grapple-fest we’d hoped for and it certainly delivered. Alexander Romanov absolutely dominated Jared Vanderaa with positional grappling and brutal elbows from pretty much every position. It looked like he’d gassed himself out when round 1 ended, but he had everyone fooled because he wrecked shop and busted up Vanderaa, turning him into a bloody mess. The fight was stopped in round 2. Romanov is now 15-0.
- Preliminary Card (2 PM ET, ESPN+)
- Alexander Romanov def. Jared Vanderaa by TKO (punches) at 4:43 of round 2
- Damon Jackson def. Charles Rosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-28)
- Loopy Godinez def. Silvana Gomez Juarez by submission (armbar) at 4:14 of round 1
- Steve Garcia def. Charlie Ontiveros by TKO (strikes) at 1:51 of round 2
The main card opened with Chris Gutierrez and Felipe Colares putting on a great, action-packed scrap that saw Gutierrez walk away with the split-decision win. How Colares managed to get a card is beyond me, but it was still a fun fight. Sabina Mazo finally got herself a better start to the fight rather than her normal snail’s pace, but it just wasn’t enough to match up with Mariya Agapova’s strength, power and speed. Agapova looked much improved and in the third round, she landed a punch that would’ve shattered a mountain, dropped Mazo, then followed her down and took a quick rear-naked choke victory. Matheus Nicolau had a rocky start in round 1 but quickly made the required adjustments to take a unanimous decision of Tim Elliott, who once again invited the loss by showboating and getting his body worked over by Nicolau’s punishing shots. Back to the drawing board.
The co-main event saw Randy Brown largely win the standup, despite a toe injury he sustained off a front kick to Jared Gooden’s face in the first round and the constant assault on his lower legs. It was a good scrap, punctuated by Brown’s great boxing. What a jab that young man has! Brown took the unanimous decision comfortably.
The main event was a back-and-forth affair that saw Marina Rodriguez own the standup and Mackenzie Dern go into boa constrictor mode when the fight went to the ground. The problem is, Dern seemed determined to stand. She had a massive round two, easily a 10-8, but inexplicably decided she would do better standing, and well, Marina outclassed her in round 3, then mauled her for four-and-a-half minutes of round four. Dern got her down, but with just 30 seconds to work with, there’s no choice but to give that round to Rodriguez. Round 5 once again saw Dern hellbent on keeping the fight upright, and as a result, got boxed up again. Rodriguez took the unanimous decision, handing Dern her second loss.
- Main Card (4 PM ET, ESPN+)
- Marina Rodriguez def. Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (49-46 x3)
- Randy Brown def. Jared Gooden by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Matheus Nicolau def. Tim Elliott by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Mariya Agapova def. Sabina Mazo by submission (rear-naked choke) at :59 of round 3
- Chris Gutierrez def. Felipe Colares by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)