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Mackenzie Dern considers UFC’s ‘private card’ as another ‘hardship’ to overcome

Mackenzie Dern is using the private card and lack of a crowd as motivation.

Women’s strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern is headed for her sixth UFC Apex apperance next Saturday. Paired up against Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt laments not being able to fight in front of a crowd once again, but plans to make the best of it.

In an interview with Combate, Dern revealed how she asked UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard to allow her to fight somewhere in which she could have a crowd, but to no avail. However, now that the event has been made private, the grappler says she is even more motivated to put on an impressive performance.

“Of course I’d like to fight in a main event in front of a crowd. When we were closing the deal, that was one of the things I kept asking Mick Maynard for. I have fought in the Apex five times, then I went back to Florida, where they had a crowd. I was able to feel that nice sensation of fighting in front of a crowd again. But he told me ‘No, that’s all we have’, And now it even became a private card.

“It has only made me more motivated, though. “Dern said. “People want a show, so I’ll give them one. It’s part of my job. It’s another hardship for me to overcome. That’s nice, right? We don’t evolve without adversity, so I’m happy,”

Against an effective striker such as Xiaonan, Dern knows she must be careful not to get caught too many times. Nonetheless, the Brazilian believes her opponent’s style could even favor herself, since an aggressive approach could make things easier for Mackenzie to take Yan down.

“If she’s aggressive, I’m sure I’ll take some shots, because people want to take off your head. I’m ready, though. Everyone knows I can take a punch. It’s not the best thing, of course. I want to leave the fight with no injuries, but that’s what I’m here for. I’ve trained for this, for a war. If she comes at me, that’s actually better for a grappler like me. It makes my job easier, to score a takedown.”

In her last outing, Dern (12-2) scored a split decision win over Tecia Torres, back in April. The victory made the 29-year-old bounce back from a unanimous decision defeat to fellow contender Marina Rodriguez, in October 2021.

Now, Dern is expected to take on Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61’s main event, on October 1. The co-main event is scheduled to feature a lightweight bout between Randy Brown and seasoned veteran Francisco Trinaldo.

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Official UFC Fight Poster: UFC Vegas 61 Fight Night - DERN VS YAN

Live! Stream UFC Vegas 61 on ESPN+

STRAWWEIGHT SHOWDOWN — Mackenzie Dern vs. Yan Xiaonan - OCT 1 Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, October 1st, 2022, with a thrilling 115lb women’s Strawweight top contenders brawl between No 5 division ranked, Mackenzie Dern (12-2) who looks to stop the rise of her No. 6 division ranked foe, Yan ‘Nine’ Xiaonan (15-3). In UFC Vegas 61’s co-main event, hard-hitting Welterweights go to war when rising star Randy ‘Rudeboy’ Brown meets up with Brazilian fight veteran, Francisco ‘Massaranduba’ Trinaldo. Plus — Brendan Allen vs Krzysztof Jotko, Raoni Barcelos vs Trevin Jones, Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs Chris Daukaus, Aleksei Oleinik vs Ilir Latifi, & Sodiq Yusuff vs Don Shainis all on this Fight Night card! Tune-in for a stacked 13-bout event...

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