UFC Vegas 61 went down last night (Sat., Oct. 1, 2022) in a semi-empty Apex arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Yan Xiaonan defeating Mackenzie Dern via majority decision in the main event of the evening (see it again here). In the co-main event, Randy Brown out-lasted Francisco Trinaldo to earn a unanimous decision win, snapping the long-time veterans two-fight win streak.
Biggest Winner: Yan Xiaonan
After a wonderful performance against Dern, Xiaonan likely won’t get a shot at the title next, but she can breath a bit easier knowing that she is back in the win column and avoided a three-fight losing streak. Xiaonan was great on the feet and when it went to the ground, her defense was top notch against a competitor who is as dangerous as they come when it comes to submissions. Xiaonan might also sneak into the Top 5 with the win, but even if she doesn’t, she showed that she can hang with the best and is ready to pick up some steam to get into the championship picture.
Runner Up: Randy Brown
Don’t look now, but Brown has won four in a row after he defeated Trinaldo via unanimous decision. Overall, Brown is 6-1 in his last seven fights. That will go a long way in helping him climb the 170-pound ladder, which is a little tougher to do than in other divisions because it is absolutely stacked with world-class talent. Breaking into the Top 15 will be tough, but Brown is making all the right moves, putting on great performances and winning convincingly to get people’s attention.
Honorable Mention: Sodiq Yusuff
Yusuff picked up his second straight win in impressive fashion, submitting Don Shainis just 30 seconds into round one. The win puts him at a very impressive 6-1 so far inside the Octagon after coming out of Contender Series. Yusuff may not be getting the promotional push he wants at the moment, but his latest victory should put him on the radar for a bigger fight moving forward. Indeed, this was a big win for him that gives him a great boost of confidence going into his next fight.
Biggest Loser: Mackenzie Dern
A tearful Mackenzie Dern congratulates Xiaonan Yan and says she messed up and is learning on the job during her Instagram live. pic.twitter.com/Ywa475GhXP— MMA mania (@mmamania) October 2, 2022
It’s not that Dern put up a bad performance, necessarily, because she fought like heck to get a finish in the final round (and came close), knowing she was down on the scorecards. But, the reason Dern gets this spot is because once again the jiu-jitsu ace lost a big fight that could have catapulted her closer to her first-ever title shot.
With the tough loss, Dern has to now go back to the drawing board and will probably lose a spot or two in the rankings. That said, she can use this defeat as a learning tool moving forward and improve. She has the time to start another streak, but this latest blow will be a tough one for her immediate championship aspirations since she is now just 1-2 in her last three fights.
She has the talent, but there seems to be one key piece missing to put her over the edge, and it’s up to her and the team to figure it out if she wants to get back into the championship chase.
For complete UFC Vegas 61 results and coverage click here.