The UFC is back once more, ladies and gentlemen.
This weekend, UFC Vegas 73 is headlined by a strawweight bout, specifically Mackenzie Dern and Angela “Overkill” Hill. This fight was actually meant to feature on last weekend's epic card, headlined by Jailton Almeida and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Read on below to find out our prediction for this weekend's main event!
Background to this fight…
Mackenzie Dern is an extremely impressive jiu jitsu fighter. In fact, she is widely considered to be the most successful women's jiu jitsu athlete ever, with accolades that are too plentiful to mention. Generally, this BJJ success has translated well into her UFC career, with an impressive 12-3 record. Unfortunately, she has gone on a bit of a skid as of late, dropping decision losses to Marina Rodriguez and Yao Xiaonan. In these fights, her one-dimensional, lack of standing skills were quite badly exposed, with Rodriguez and Xianon dominating Dern on the feet. With this fight, she will be hoping to obtain some much needed momentum, especially in a rejuvenated and competitive strawweight decision.
Angela “Overkill” Hill is a much better fighter than her record suggests. Her 15-12 record includes about half a dozen split decisions that could have (and arguably SHOULD have) gone her way. Overall, Hill is just a solid, all-round fighter. She is also extremely used to going the distance, with 9 of her last fights going without a stoppage. That being said, Hill's cardio is extremely impressive, and she is very tough to outwork. Like Dern, she too is looking to build up some much-needed momentum in an increasingly stacked and competitive strawweight division.
Mackenzie Dern's Path to Victory: BJJ, BJJ, and more BJJ.
It's pretty obvious how Mackenzie Dern wins this fight – take it to the ground, and her BJJ takes care of the rest.
Unfortunately, there's a bit of a problem with this – Dern's takedown accuracy is 11% across her last five fights. ELEVEN. PERCENT. Not only is that a quite frankly terrible number, but, as mentioned above, she has been completely outclassed on the feet in her last couple of fights. This cannot happen against Angela Hill.
For Dern to win, she has to be very inventive in getting this fight to the deck, especially with an opponent like Hill who wants to keep this on the feet. Put simply, Dern needs to get this fight on the ground. If she does, she can win. If not, then the fight moves significantly in Hill's favour.
Angela Hill's Path to Victory: Stick to Standing.
For Angela Hill to win this fight, she needs to stick and move. Keep this fight on the feet, and Hill dramatically increases the odds in her favour.
Hill is a very good Muay Thai fighter. In fact, she is currently tied with Joanna Jedrzejczyk atop the rankings of significant strikes in strawweight history (1,754). In fact, in the entire UFC, she is only behind Frankie Edgar (1,801) and Max Holloway (3,122). Not bad, right?
Couple this stat with Mackenzie Dern's historical difficulties on the feet, and the path to victory is clear for Angela Hill. Stuff the takedowns, keep the fight standing, and she has a very good chance of pulling off a big victory.
So, Mackenzie Dern v Angela Hill: Who Wins?
For me, the stats actually make this a relatively easy prediction to make.
Unless Mackenzie Dern's takedown accuracy has astronomically improved since her last fight, I see her struggling to take Angela Hill down. And if Mackenzie Dern can't take Angela Hill down, I can't see how she wins this fight, plain and simple. That being said, if she CAN take Angela Hill down, then this fight is a very different story.
I just think that Angela Hill is too experienced and too wily of a veteran to let herself get taken down. Her takedown defence is extremely robust. Plus, her recent fights have come against many of the better fighters in the division. Her most recent opponent, Amanda Lemos, is facing Zhang Weili for the title in August. And I think that everything considered makes this relatively easy to predict.
I think Angela Hill takes the unanimous decision win in this fight. Everyone knows how Mackenzie Dern could win, but it's also the only way. Angela Hill can really grind this out over 25 minutes, stuff the level changes from Dern, and outpoint her. Our official prediction is that Angela Hill wins this fight across all 25 minutes in the main event of UFC Vegas 73.