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HomeSportUFC Vegas 61: Dern vs. Yan Preview

UFC Vegas 61: Dern vs. Yan Preview

If I may, I would like to point out a very strange message. I don’t want to turn the tables on Mackenzie Dern and Xiao Nanyan. It’s a game and I’m excited to watch it in five rounds. But why did they play five rounds when Marina Rodriguez was relegated to the co-main event on the Fight Night card? After all, Rodriguez’s last two battles were victories over Dunn and Yan. Just a friendly reminder that the UFC is still more spectacular than the sport. Just saying ‘….

For preliminaries preview click here. For an audio preview, click here.

Mackenzie Dunn vs. Yan Xiaonan, Women’s


At the end of the day, I understand the UFC’s push for Dunn. She is a formidable athlete, playing on the most dangerous ground in the division. I also understand the UFC’s desire to push Yan. China is a huge market after all. There’s a reason Hollywood caters to the Chinese market. Money can turn the devil around. I may not like the sound of money talking, but I get it.

Now that I’ve got my gripes out of the way, it’s time to understand the nature of this absolutely fantastic fight. All the money seems to go to Dern. It’s not an exaggeration when I say Dern has the most dangerous ground game in the division. The daughter of a famous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, Dunn has been practicing the art of BJJ from an early age. At this point, there’s probably no one else on the list better suited to operate on a mat, let alone in a partition. She flows like someone who makes the land a second home. Plus, she knows how to tweak submissions without getting out of control. Many believed that all it took was one hit of the mat, and that was all Dunn needed to ensure victory.

Given that Carla Esparza is able to beat Yan at will, many believe it will happen at some point. However, many people tend to forget that Esparza was a great wrestler. Yes, she has issues with opponents that don’t allow her to get close, but once she puts her glove on her opponent, Esparza is a beast to deal with. Dunn’s lack of wrestling has long been a shame, limiting her path to glory more than anything. What good is her ground game if she can’t fight on the mat? Plus, Yan admits her defense is a hole and works hard to fix it. She has been training with the Alpha Male team. She did show an improvement on Rodriguez’s knockout, but the question remains whether she can stop the knockout. Rodriguez never tested her in that field.

If Dern can’t find a way to pull the fight to the mat, then Yan is the better forward. Yes, Dunn has more natural powers, but she also tends to aggravate her fists and can be easily countered. Plus Yan was more attentive against Rodriguez and didn’t rush to meet her opponent in the pocket. Not that Yan won’t get a better pocket swap with her combo compelling, but it will make it harder for Dern to catch her or get Dern a haymaker. It’s hard for anyone to forget that Dern’s first loss was almost entirely caused by Amanda Ribas’ jab.

There were two main factors that ultimately really influenced my choice. First and foremost, Dern has proven to be durable, tough and sturdy. She will be beaten, keep coming. If there’s anything positive about her loss to Ribas, it’s that she never stopped trying to win the fight. Not that anyone sees Yan as a threat to end the fight — she’s yet to get a finish in the UFC despite her six victories — but that means Dern will have five rounds to find the finish. …she’s going to use every minute of the struggle trying to do it. Second, Dunn is still improving. As a grappler, she didn’t decide to rest on her laurels. She knows she needs to get the fight to the mat and has been working hard to improve her ability to get the fight to the ground, not to mention her blows. Dunn may have struggled her entire life, but she’s only been a professional MMA fighter for six years. In contrast, Yan has struggled for 13 years. It’s not that Yan can’t improve a bit, but Dunn is more likely to make more progress at this time. Her stubbornness will eventually bring her into submission. Dern submitted via RD3

Randy Brown vs. Francisco Terry Naldo ,


Casual fans may remember listening somewhere deep in their minds Trinardo’s name was there, but he was never someone the UFC pushed for. To be fair to the organization, this makes sense. After all, Trinaldo was 33 when he made his UFC debut, so it doesn’t look like he’ll end up with long-term success. Instead, we’re sitting here now, with Trinaldo just celebrating his 44th birthday with an 18-7 record in the UFC. That’s not to say that success only came early in his campaign. Trinaldo has won five of his last six matches.

Make no mistake, Trinaldo is getting old. He’s not as fast as he used to be, and his gas tank isn’t as deep. He helped make up for his stamina when he moved up to welterweight later in his career, but the reason for his continued success comes from the cunning he acquired over his years of experience. Always a talented counterman, his timing has never been better. He’s not traditionally seen as a clean technical striker, but Trinaldo knows how to make his unorthodox style work for him. He was able to maintain his strength without being hurt.

Again, the UFC has always been concerned about Trinaldo’s age and his progress in competition as he continues to win getting bigger. The consensus is that Brown is easily Trinaldo’s most talented fighter in years. It’s not just Brown who is a great athlete. Brown is also taller and longer than the veteran Brazilian. Not that Trinaldo hasn’t beaten a longer opponent before — he beat Dwight Grant just last year — but Brown won’t just sit back and wait for Trinaldo to make a move.

Brown is primarily a boxer, but he offers enough variety to attack that he is considered a Wei’s is just stupid. Maybe that could have been said early on in his career, but Brown has improved his skills at every level. While he prefers to stay out and pick opponents, he’s perfectly capable of choking opponents in the cage and working hard in a pinch. In the past, Brown has only been knocked off the shelf for a change of pace. Now, he’s proven he can snatch commits if given the chance. Brown has steadily developed from a talented forward who is reluctant to relax into a confident veteran who is comfortable in every area.

  • There are a few things that make many people reluctant to bash their votes for Brown. For one, Trinaldo is extremely durable; his career dates back to 2006, but he never ended with a strike. Brown can’t say the same. In fact, Trinaldo has shown the kind of one-punch power that Brown is prone to. Second, Brown has sometimes shown questionable decision-making. Trinaldo is usually able to exploit these types of mistakes….
  • to Brown’s Concerns are justified. .. to a certain degree. Trinaldo is as cunning as they are, but he also tends to be up-tempo, which Brown certainly does, provided he doesn’t get caught up in Trinaldo. Plus, Brown has made fewer mental mistakes in recent games. At 44, Trinaldo could fall off a cliff at any time. Chin also doesn’t last forever. Remember how long we talked about Dan Henderson’s jaw? Finally broke at 43
  • Are we witnessing Raoni Barcelos , or did he just hit the ceiling earlier than most people expected? Given that Barcelos, now 35, is one of the sectors that has historically suffered from aging earlier than most other sectors, the former seems like the most logical choice. Many analysts lamented that Barcelos got his chance in the UFC later than expected, but he also had some impressive performances. Although he has proven himself to be a credible threat on his feet, it is his wrestling and grappling that is most frightening. What has been limiting Barcelos lately is his jagged gas tank. That’s not a problem for Trevin Jones , but that doesn’t mean Jones doesn’t have his own problems. In addition to developing his strength in recent years, Jones also possesses a wealth of athleticism. Given that he scored several brutal KOs, people forget that BJJ is his base. However, his struggle to put everything together on a consistent basis has not always shown the ability to transition effectively through every phase of MMA. Basically, the pieces are there; it just periodically puts them together. If Barcelos falls more than expected, Jones could easily win. However, expect Barcelos’ consistency to shine, especially early on. Barcelo via RD2 Tseung Kwan O
  • I can’t blame Sodiq Yusuff for wanting to Giga Chikadze exited into the cage because Yusuff and Chikadze had come to the time of the damn thing. After all, fighting is his way of making a living, and you can’t make money without fighting. However, his fights with Don Shainis were all risky and unrewarding. Not that freshman Shainis isn’t worth a look at the UFC high ranks, but Yusuff should play against top-10 opponents, not those on short notice who seem to have limited upside. Shainis is essentially a wrestler who has developed a functional power boxing game that allows him to finish fighters rather than just slam them on the mat. However, even though he fought a bit at lightweight, he was at
  • featherweight distribute. Also, while Yusuf still has some holes in his wrestling, he is one of the best athletes in the division and has turned down wrestling attempts by more mature fighters than Shainis. In addition, Yusuf will have a great advantage in the striker. In my opinion, the best Shainis can look forward to is something similar to Lando Vannata’s debut…but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Yusuff via RD2 Tseung Kwan O
  • While the overall vibe around Daniel Santos Things have been mixed for his debut, with even some of his harsher critics disappointed by his performance against Julio Arce. Don’t get me wrong, Arce is a solid UFC talent and there’s no shame in losing to him, but Santos shows no sign of the controlled chaos he’s shown in the regionals. Damn, Arce doesn’t even need to resort to his wrestling, which is considered Santos’ biggest weakness. In any case, if Santos is clear-headed, he might prove to be a different man. After all, John Casteda had an equally mixed opinion of him before his poor performance in his own UFC debut. In the two fights since then, Casteneda has shown his well-rounded skill set while earning KOs and committing stoppages. He’s not the cleanest fighter or top athlete, but neither of those categories is a weakness. It was with his shrewdness that Castelda stood firm against his opponents. So while I would say Santos is a great athlete – and probably a more creative striker – I prefer Sexi Mexi to get the job done. Casteneda passed the decision
  • If he hits more than once a year – he doesn’t even hit that ratio right now – Mike Davis has the potential to prove himself as one of the best fighters in the entire sport of MMA. An above-average boxing and wrestling athlete who needs respect, Davis has impressed in the three fights he’s been able to show up. If he wants to play it safe – no guarantee given his penchant for slugfest – he’ll want to quit wrestling as a former professional kickboxer Viacheslav Borshchev

    haven’t caught up on this aspect yet. That said, Borshchev is a sniper on his feet and a formidable sniper. Borshchev’s shot isn’t the same as Davis’s, but his close-knit technique and strength make him something even the best lightweights in the world would be reluctant to trade on a free trade. Given that all fighters have some level of ego, I can see Davis willing to test what Borshchev can do…at least for a while. Davis has proven durable, so he has a chance to stick around long enough for his wrestling to be a factor…and bring him wins, if the fight is still a regular season will be unlikely. Davis passed the decision



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