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Mackenzie Dern vs. Yan Xiaonan headlines UFC card in October

A clash of strawweight contenders is the headliner for an upcoming UFC Fight Night. 

Mackenzie Dern at UFC 273.
Mackenzie Dern at UFC 273.
Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

An interesting fight between No. 4 and No. 5 in the strawweight division is set.

Brett Okamoto of ESPN reported Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan are expected to headline a UFC Fight Night scheduled for Oct. 1 at a location and venue soon-to-be determined.

Dern recently returned to the win column with a split decision over Tecia Torres at UFC 273 this past April. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace was on a four-fight win streak before losing a unanimous decision to Marina Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 39 in October. Though she previously expressed interest in a potential interim championship fight against Zhang Weili, Dern also hinted at Xiaonan being her next opponent.

“If they do have an interim title, I would like to be in there,” Dern told Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. “Fight Zhang Weili or whoever it will be. I’m definitely interested in that. I’m ready. I’m taking with Mick [Maynard]. I even sent a message to [UFC president] Dana [White]. I’m like, ‘Hey Dana, I’m ready for whoever it is, I’m ready.’ My manager Tim [Simpson] from Paradigm. They’ve been talking so, a lot of names have been thrown out: Yan Xiaonan, Rose, Zhang Weili has been talked about in the past, so I don’t know how serious they are about that. But definitely I’d be ready for any one of those girls.”

Xiaonan has suffered consecutive losses to Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez in her past two appearances. The Chinese fighter fought her way into contention with six straight wins, including decisions against Angela Hill, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Cláudia Gadelha.

The winner of Dern vs. Xiaonan could move one step closer to a championship opportunity against Carla Esparza, who could defend her newly acquired title against the aforementioned Weili by the end of the year.

The UFC Fight Night now has five confirmed fights. Here is the current lineup:

  • Mackenzie Dern vs. Yan Xiaonan
  • Cheyanne Vlismas vs. Tabatha Ricci
  • Vinc Pichel vs. Jesse Ronson
  • Randy Costa vs. Guido Cannetti
  • Leah Letson vs. Chelsea Chandler

Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for updates on the event as they become available in the coming weeks.