MacKenzie Dern is a top-five competitor in her weight division, who has also won several gold medals at international Jiu-jitsu competitions. Yet for all of her accomplishments, she has never been given a UFC title shot during her decorated career. After her impressive showing at UFC 273 in April of this year, there are whispers that one more big win is all it will take for her to finally get her chance. However, standing in her way is Yan Xianonan, a formidable opponent who is also highly ranked in the strawweight division. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Dern vs. Yan
MacKenzie Dern holds the record for the most submission wins in the history of the UFC women’s strawweight division. Her upcoming opponent, Yan Xiaonan has only been submitted once in her career; that was all the way back in 2010, during her fourth professional fight. Needless to say, this fight will be a contrast of styles.Embed from Getty Images
Dern is a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and it is no secret that she is looking to grapple with her opponents and use her expertise against them. Xiaonan, on the other hand, owes all of her stoppage victories to knockouts. Dern will try to grapple and Xiaonan will prefer to strike. Everyone in mixed martial arts knows this is how the fight will go, the question is which side will be able to institute their game plan more affectively.
Brown vs. Trinaldo
Welterweight challenger Randy Brown enters his bout against Francisco Trinaldo on a three-fight win streak. Trinaldo, on the other hand, enters the matchup on a two-fight win streak of his own. Interestingly enough, they each last performed at UFC 274 in May of this year.
Both of these men are Brown belts in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, but Trinaldo has the added advantage of being a Black belt in kickboxing. Brown on the other hand, has an advantage in youth, being 12 years younger than his next opponent. At 44-years-old, there are rumors that Trinaldo will call it quits after this fight, win, lose or draw. Regardless if he decides to walk away from the octagon or not, he’s had a great career and his contributions to the sport will be greatly appreciated.
Barcelos vs. Jones
Prior to losing his last two fights by decision, Bantamweight veteran Raoni Barcelos was in the midst of enjoying a nine-fight win streak. At 35-years-old, he is hoping to enter the UFC’s top 15 divisional rankings, with his eyes on obtaining the first title shot of his tenure in the organization. In order to do so, he’ll have to go through Trevin Jones, who is also trying to change course from a two-fight losing streak of his own.
Trevin Jones is a southpaw; his unorthodox stance has been known to give opposing fighters trouble. Jones moved to Guam when he was a teenager due to having a family member in the Marine Core who was stationed there. As a result, his entry into mixed martial arts came through the PXC organization, near The Philippines. He eventually became the organization’s Bantamweight champion before eventually making his way to the UFC. Barcelos and Jones are two of the most battle-tested warriors in the bantamweight division. You won’t want to miss it!
Yusuff vs. Shainis
Featherweight challenger, Sodiq Yusuff, is ranked twelfth in the UFC’s Featherweight division. His next opponent, Don Shainis, will make his organizational debut at UFC Vegas 61. While Yusuff is the more accomplished fighter, he cannot afford to overlook the Boston native who goes by the moniker “Shameless.” Shainis is two years older than Yusuff and has only lost three times in fifteen professional fights. This will be an interesting matchup of two of the best athletes in the featherweight division. Make sure to tune in!
Castañeda vs. Santos
Featherweight prospect, John Castañeda, has only fought once each calendar year since 2018. His next bout will mark the first time he’s had multiple fights en un año since 2017. Daniel Santos, Castañeda’s next opponent did not compete at all in 2020 or 2021. His two-year-absence from the sport is shrouded in mystery, but he has a chance to erase any doubts if he is able to perform well in his UFC debut on Saturday. There are a lot of questions surrounding these two fighters. The biggest question of all is which of these two men will rise above the detractors and take the next leap forwards in their career?
Davis vs. Borshchev
Lightweight challenger, Mike Davis, withdrew from a scheduled bout in March of this year due to undisclosed personal reasons. As a result, he hasn’t been seen inside the octagon since January of 2021. Many pundits are wondering if Davis will display significant octagon rust after taking over a year-and-a-half off from serious competition. His next opponent, Slava Borshchev, has emerged victorious in one fight and suffered defeat in another, during 2022. His bout against Davis will determine whether or not this has been a winning year. Make sure you tune in to witness these two warriors put it all on the line at UFC Vegas 61!
How to watch
UFC Vegas 61 can be viewed on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and on ESPN Plus in the United States. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis, available right here at World in Sport!