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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Mackenzie Dern after loss at UFC Vegas 39?

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UFC Fight Night: Dern v Rodriguez Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 39 went down last Sat. night (Oct. 9, 2021) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were sent home feeling the post-fight blues once the dust settled, including Sabina Mazo, who was choked out by Mariya Agapova (see it here).

And Jared Vanderaa, who felt the solid power of Alexander Romanov, leading to a knockout loss for the big man (see it again here). But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Mackenzie Dern.

Heading into her fight, Dern was seemingly one win away from earning her first-ever shot at UFC gold, thanks to a torrid four-fight win streak. Drawing the No. 5-ranked contender, however, wasn’t going to be a cakewalk because Marina Rodriguez was a huge hurdle on her path to gold.

While Dern did find some success early on with her jiu jitsu, she was unable to power through and sink in any type of submission because her opponent’s defense proved to be too much. Once the grappling was null and void, it was pretty much downhill from there.

Despite showing improved striking over her last few fights, Dern simply couldn’t overcome her bigger foe. For her part, Rodriguez found her timing and got into a nice rhythm in all facets of the standup department. Dern never gave up trying to close the distance to grab a hold of Rodriguez and take her down, but the Brazilian striker‘s defense was good enough to keep Dern at bay.

Undeterred, Dern will take the loss as a good learning experience.

“Thank you everyone for all the support! Yesterday wasn’t the result I was training for, but this fight is the biggest learning experience for me,” Dern said in a recent Instagram post. “Now I have a lot to look back on and fix to become a better fighter!

“For sure a submission would have been great but to have these rounds for me to work on is such a blessing! Congrats Marina for the win! I hope you guys enjoyed the fight and thanks Dana White for ‘Fight of the Night.’ Thank you to my family, my team, my friends and everyone who continues to support me! Letssss gooo!”

Dern has shown she can bounce back from defeat and rack up wins in a hurry. She did just that after suffering the first loss of her career at the hands of Amanda Ribas, reeling off four straight victories before running into Rodriguez.

As for who Dern should face next, a fight against Michelle Waterson sounds appealing. Waterson — ranked No. 10 — is also coming off a loss to Rodriguez and is in desperate need of a big win since “Karate Hottie” hasn’t been able to find much momentum in the last two years.

Furthermore, both Waterson and Dern are marketable with big fan bases, an easy sell for UFC matchmakers. I can see this strawweight bout headlining a “Fight Night” card in the very near future.

For complete UFC Vegas 39 results and coverage click here.