Written by Derek Moody, October 14, 2016, at 11:06 p.m.
Mackenzie Dern (2-0) didn’t waste anytime booking her second fight after her debut in July at Legacy 58. Her debut was on a level playing field facing off against another newcomer to the sport in Kenia Rosas (0-1). Legacy 61 Mackenzie Dern faced Montana Stewart (5-3) who is touting a streak of five consecutive wins with four by submission. On Thursday, they weighed in for their strawweight bout and Dern missed the allowed limit of 116 pounds. She weighed in at 118.6 pounds and Stewart successfully weighed in at 115.5 pounds.
Aside from the weight cut, the Brazilian jiu jitsu legend progressed drastically from her debut. Her striking was far cleaner while she landed jabs and hooks during their exchange. It took some time to execute the takedown because Stewart is a solid grappler herself. Once the takedown was initiated Dern landed a deep armbar but Stewart was able to step over and escape. She ended up in top position inside Dern’s guard but was overwhelmed with Dern’s transitions ultimately being set up for a triangle.
The triangle failed none the less Dern didn’t quit on the submission attempt quickly converting the triangle to an omoplata. Once again she was able to showcase her elite level grappling going from one submission attempt to another until one would stick. In this case, it was a bit of a hybrid, she was able to catch Stewart in an omoplata contorted into a slight crucifix with an end result of a rear naked choke. All in all, awesome display of grappling and persistence to not allow Stewart to flee danger.
Mackenzie Dern worked so hard for the takedown that once the judo throw worked it was apparent she was not going to allow Stewart back to her feet. Dern was giving up some height but she made up for it in power as her strikes were effective in the stand up. In a mere three months Mackenzie Dern is trending in the direction her team projected her to be in. Benson Henderson made a few comments on the MMA Hour back in August, “She will be bigger than Ronda Rousey before Ronda Rousey lost.” That was a huge statement to make but no one knows what the future holds, her grappling career far surpasses Rousey’s.
Then Henderson went on to defend his statement with a few more saying:
Go look her up, she is a multiple-time jiu jitsu world champion. She’s won ADCC, she’s won Abu Dhabi, she’s won Worlds. She’s the current number one ranked female jiu jitsu practitioner on the planet. She has an amazing work ethic. She’s an amazing athlete. She definitely needs to work on her MMA skills, but her ground game is phenomenal. Any woman on the planet goes to the ground with Mackenzie and Mackenzie is going to tap her, or dominate her like she did her first opponent.
The former UFC and WEC Lightweight champion may be onto something because she made quick work of Montana Stewart. She stopped a five fight win streak in only her second fight winning by 1st round submission. As for now, the biggest struggle for Dern will be managing her weight. The missed weight was due to keeping her weight up to enter grappling competitions throughout this training camp. Passing on the competitions would benefit her from missing weight which may affect her performance.
Dern has the potential to sweep through the competition like Holly Holm did previously at Legacy. She’s aiming for another fight on December 2, which would be her third fight within six months. Holly Holm won the Legacy FC Women’s Bantamweight Title with her third Legacy victory but her seventh overall. Expect to see a similar fast track advancement considering how her team at MMA Lab value her skills. Once again she has us eager to witness more of her outstanding grappling within the cage. Mark your calendars for December 2, as this may come into fruition.