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5 min read

UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Cifers Preview

The marquee match of UFC Fight Night features a fighter looking to reclaim championship glory. The main card opener includes a fighter who is also returning to action. Her return; however, differs from that of Tyron Woodley’s.

Mackenzie Dern spring-boarded into the UFC from Invicta FC and rattled off a two-fight winning. In her debut, she defeated Ashley Yoder via split decision at UFC 222. Two months later, Dern bested Amanda Bobby Cooper via rear-naked choke submission at UFC 224. Due to pregnancy, Dern took an extended layoff from combat. On June 9th, 2019, Dern gave birth to her baby girl Moa. After a few months of maternity leave, Dern returned to action in October at UFC Fight Night: Jedrzejczyk vs. Waterson to face Amanda Ribas. Dern’s received criticism upon return, as some thought it was too soon, given the circumstances. Despite said concerns, Dern proceeded with the bout. Unfortunately, things didn’t go Dern’s way, as she suffered her first blemish to Ribas. Ribas established herself as the quicker and accurate striker; however, disengaged from any opportunities to keep the fight on the ground.  

Feverish Shockwaves

Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers has a young UFC tenure herself. She has two wins, including a controversial split decision over Polyana Viana at UFC 235. Cifers followed that performance with a unanimous decision over Jodie Esquibel at UFC 241. Cifers comes forward and throws a multitude of punches which pack power. Her willingness to eat shots in exchange for landing them, depending on the circumstances, can be beneficial or detrimental. In her UFC debut, Cifers fell short to Maycee Barber by second-round TKO due to elbows and punches. In her most recent outing, Cifers suffered an identical method of defeat, in the same round, to Angela Hill.

Keys to Victory

Timing Is Everything!

Let’s start with Cifers! As mentioned, a little while back, Cifers has zero reservations in pushing forward and throwing strikes at a frantic pace. She’s solid at changing levels with said strikes, as well. Such an output has resulted in Cifers landing roughly five significant strikes per minute with an accuracy rate of 45%. Cifers is the faster puncher of the two. What’s best here is to feel out Dern’s timing. From there, get inside Dern’s range and take whatever openings are available.  

For Dern, she should utilize her height advantage to its fullest capacity. For starters, unleash leg kicks to slow Cifers down. From there, if Dern’s hand speed has increased, utilize those jabs to keep her at bay. Should the speed remain as is, still let those jabs go. Assuming Cifers gets inside Dern’s range, clinch and either toss her to the cage, ground, or both. If it’s the cage, press Cifers against it and from there, be Ben Rothwell to her Ovince St. Preux. Yes, they weigh the same, but Dern can weigh down on Cifers with her height. In addition, throw knees and close-range upper extremity strikes clinch position, as Rothwell did with OSP, rendering Cifers to fatigue. Should it be the ground, Dern can secure the first TKO win of her professional career. Or, she can transition while on the ground and secure a submission.

Who Wins?   

Being a fighter who charges full speed ahead, throwing an abundance of strikes can be beneficial, should they land. In return, the combatant has points, should the verdict fall into the judges’ hands. The strategy also results in knockouts. The backlash, such an approach leaves you vulnerable to receiving shots in return. This strategy has returned to bite Cifers in the rear. It won’t help much against Dern, who packs heavy hands and wants to prove she’s better than her last outing. Cifers struggles against taller fighters that initiate the clinch. She does not work well from bottom positioning. Finally, she is hesitant to secure top position on the ground, even when she drops fighters with power shots. I have Dern getting her first victory since giving birth and doing so in the form of her first TKO.   

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