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Mackenzie Dern expects new strawweight champion at UFC 292: ‘Amanda Lemos is gonna get the belt’

Amanda Lemos is next in line for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight champion, Zhang Weili.

The promotion revealed this week (Tues., May 16, 2023) that Lemos (13-2-1) will challenge for her first world title, taking on Zhang (23-3) in the UFC 292 co-main event on Aug. 19, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts. The Brazilian finisher will be Zhang’s first title defense of her second reign as champion.

UFC’s Strawweight division has been sorting itself out in recent months, seeing a recent highlight-reel knockout from Yan Xiaonan over the former champion, Jessica Andrade, at UFC 288 two weeks ago (May 6, 2023). Fans speculated that the win may have been enough to provide an all-China title tilt, but Lemos managed to maintain her spot in line. For Lemos’ fellow topped-ranked 115-pound contender, Mackenzie Dern, she believes Brazil is about to get its fourth female UFC champion in promotional history.

“Man, that’s gonna be a good fight,” Dern told Shakiel Majhouri. “I think Amanda Lemos is gonna get the [belt]. She hits hard. I think she even fought at 135 back in the past. So, she definitely has weight on her hands. I think she’s made the cut to Strawweight really good.

“She got submitted by Jessica [Andrade], it was a crazy fight, but I think she’s gonna come in strong against Zhang Weili,” she concluded.

Dern, 30, looks to get herself back on track for an eventual title shot this weekend (Sat., May 20, 2023) at UFC Vegas 73 against Angela Hill. A win for the submission wizard would rebound her off a majority decision loss in her last time out opposite the aforementioned Yan in Oct. 2022 (watch highlights). After that, Dern knows she’ll need to put in more work before sniffing gold, hoping that she can stand across from a big-name foe in the following contest.

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“In a perfect world — we’re just thinking about Angela Hill right now — I would like to fight a former champion,” Dern said. “They (UFC) had talked about Carla Esparza before, they had talked about Jessica Andrade, they had talked about Rose [Namajunas]. I think me and Rose would be a great next fight. I know Carla’s pregnant, Amanda Lemos and Zhang Weili are fighting in August, so ideally, in a perfect world, I would love to be able to fight Rose after that. It would be great.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 73 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 73: “Dern vs. Hill” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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