MMA Superprospect Mackenzie Dern to Make UFC Debut in March

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 02:  Mixed martial artist Mackenzie Dern attends the ninth annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards at The Palazzo Las Vegas on March 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

Mackenzie Dern's days on the regional circuit are reportedly over. According to a report by MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani, the superprospect has been scooped up by the UFC and will debut at UFC 222 on March 3 in Las Vegas opposite Ashley Yoder.

Dern (5-0) has long been a familiar name for combat sports fans, courtesy of her incredible success in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She transitioned to MMA in 2016 with Legacy FC and impressed fans and pundits in her second fight by defeating Montana Stewart with a rare Imanari choke. Most recently, she faced former strawweight title contender Kaline Medeiros in Invicta FC, winning by submission via armbar.

The 24-year-old's grappling pedigree, along with her incredible strong performances in the cage to this point, has turned her into one of the sport's most intriguing prospects. A move to the UFC has long felt like an inevitability, and while some worried that she may be too green for the Octagon, the promotion seems to be ready to take it slow with Dern...at least for now.

Yoder first appeared in the UFC as a member of The Ultimate Fighter's Season 23, losing to Kate Jackson in the first round of the strawweight tournament. She was called up to the main roster in 2016 and has fought twice in the Octagon since, losing both times.

Dern will likely open as a huge favorite over Yoder and the expectation among many will be that this will be a litmus test for the BJJ standout. Expect more news on the card and on the two fighters to come out in the near future.

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