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UFC Vegas 39 Main Event Preview & Breakdown: Dern vs. Rodriguez

Sports fans have plenty to look forward to this time of year.

Think about it: The NFL season is in full swing, the MLB playoffs have started, and the NBA and NHL seasons are right around the corner.

But there’s one sport that provides more excitement than an Aaron Judge home run, more drama than a last-second Baker Mayfield touchdown pass, and more stunning facial expressions than a LeBron James slam dunk.

MMA will also be in action throughout October, including this Saturday when the UFC returns to its Apex facility in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 39.

Barring any late postponements, UFC Vegas 39 will feature 11 MMA bouts from the UFC Apex, including a strawweight bout in the main event.

No. 4 contender Mackenzie Dern (11-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will battle Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2 MMA, 4-1-2 UFC).

As with all UFC headliners, the UFC Vegas 39 main event will be a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the day’s proceedings.

UFC Vegas 39 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Going into the UFC Vegas 39 main event on Saturday afternoon, Marina Rodriguez is the taller competitor at 5-foot-6, compared to Mackenzie Dern at 5-foot-4.

In addition, Rodriguez owns a two-inch reach advantage (65 inches to 63 inches), as well as a one-inch reach advantage (38 1/2 inches to 37 1/2 inches) over Dern heading into Saturday afternoon’s UFC Vegas 39 main event..

Dern Eyes Bigger Prize After UFC Vegas 39 Main Event

Mackenzie Dern has posted a record of 4-1 in her last five UFC appearances, including her current four-fight winning streak.

She recently stopped Nina Nunes (first-round submission: armbar) in UFC on ABC 2 on April 9.

During her post-fight interview, Dern mentioned that she has her sights set on the strawweight strap.

“It all depends on where I go in the rankings,” Dern said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the blue corner, so I’m looking to stay in the blue corner a couple of more times and fight someone higher ranked than me, but we’ll see who wins, who loses in the next round… but I feel I’m ready for anyone, I feel like champ material right now.”

Entering the UFC Vegas 39 main event, Mackenzie Dern finds herself deadlocked with Gillian Robertson for first place all-time in submissions recorded by a woman (4)– but can she move into the top spot all by her lonesome this coming Saturday?

Undoubtedly, this will be a crucial storyline to watch-unfold in this fight.

Marina Rodriguez Almost Didn’t Fight Mackenzie Dern

In the other corner, Marina Rodriguez has gone 3-1-1 in her last five fights going into the UFC Vegas 39 main event on Saturday afternoon, including an ongoing two-fight winning streak.

Last time out, she bested Michelle Waterson (unanimous decision) in UFC Vegas 26‘s main attraction back in May, but the Rodriguez/ Dern pairing for the UFC Vegas 39 main event almost didn’t happen, as she explained in a transcribed interview.

“The UFC offered Mackenzie to us for July, but I had already warned that we wanted to fight in September or October,” Rodriguez explained. “As I saw that she wants to fight before, I believe that our fight may not even happen for now.”

A universal storyline for these fighters in the UFC Vegas 39 main event is the fact that both Dern and Rodriguez are eyeing the championship at 115 lbs, with the winner firmly getting the inside track toward a potential meeting against Jessica Andrade for the belt.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC Vegas 39 main event seems to favour Mackenzie Dern, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, compared to Marina Rodriguez’s purple belt in BJJ and dark blue belt in Muay-Thai.

Dern May Hunt for the Submission

Looking at the video of Mackenzie Dern’s fight against Nina Nunes from last April, she can hunt for the submission to try and end the fight.

Dern shot for a takedown against Nunes upon entering the clinch, landing it and beginning the grappling match, eventually transitioning to the half guard and taking mount.

From there, she was able to soften Nunes up with punches to the head and push Nunes’ arm with her foot, finally getting Nunes to tap out to the armbar.

As has been the case with a number of fights before, all Mackenzie Dern needs to try and end the fight in the UFC Vegas 39 main event is just one takedown.

If Dern can dump Rodriguez as little as one time, she can take control of the fight.

Look For Rodriguez to Knock Dern Out

In the other corner, Marina Rodriguez has the proclivity to knock Dern out, as was the case against Amanda Ribas last January in Abu Dhabi.

Early in the second round, after having dropped round one to Ribas, who accumulated more than three minutes of ground control time during that period, Rodriguez appeared to knock out Ribas with a right hand and ground and pound shots, but Herb Dean did not stop the fight.

This would prove to be inconsequential in the long run, as Rodriguez scored another right hand to end the fight and score the knockout.

If Marina Rodriguez can land those right-handed punches, the UFC Vegas 39 main event could be a wrap in short order.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the UFC Vegas 39 main event looks to be a good fight on Saturday afternoon. With the UFC Strawweight Championship in the long-term forecasts of both competitors, this could be an explosive fight, so make that fridge run before it starts.

Prediction: Mackenzie Dern by First-Round Submission.

Follow me on Twitter at @DrewZuhosky to see my latest work. Follow us on social media at @OTHeroicsMMA to stay tuned in with our content! Please visit our web page to keep up with everything MMA!

Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images

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