UFC 224: Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper Fight Preview
MMA Record: 6-0
UFC Record: 1-0
Notable Wins: Ashley Yoder
Notable Losses: None
Last Fight: Decision win over Ashley Yoder
Fighter Profile: A highly-decorated submissiom artist in the BJJ world, Dern has quickly emerged as one of the top women's strawweight prospects in the UFC. The youngster has only been in MMA since 2016 but has quickly emerged as one of the sport's young female stars, with some comparing her to a young Ronda Rousey. I personally prefer not to make that comparison as Dern is her own fighter, but there's no doubt she has a dominant ground game and has the potential to go far in this sport. The fight with Yoder in her UFC debut showed some flaws in her striking but she did enough to get the win. She should keep improving as a fighter and if she does there's no doubt in my mind she will be contending for the women's 115lbs title within the next two or three years. She has all the potential in the world, now let's see if she can live up to it.
MMA Record: 3-3
UFC Record: 2-2
Notable Wins: Angela Magana
Notable Losses: Tatiana Suarez, Cynthia Calvillo
Last Fight: TKO win over Angela Magana
Fighter Profile: A competitor on The Ultimate Fighter 23, Cooper has had mixed success in the UFC so far, looking great at times but awful at others. The youngster has shown improvements in her overall game and looked terrific against Magana in her last fight, but it's hard to ignore the three submission losses she has already in her six-fight career. That's not a good sign going forward, especially if the UFC gives her tough fights against BJJ experts like Dern. I think Cooper has some potential but I think she has a ton of flaws in her game and until she shows me something different I have a hard time picking her against anyone with any sort of submission game.
Fight Breakdown: Despite the line movement to the contrary, I view this fight as a big mismatch. Dern's ground game is so much better than Cooper's that this should be stylistically a very favorable fight for her. Although Cooper showed improvements against Magana, it's hard to take too much away from beating the worst fighter in the division. Though Dern's UFC debut didn't go as smoothly as expected, now that her first UFC fight is out of the way I expect her to not have the Octagon jitters this time around. I think Dern is going to go out there and do what everyone expects from her, which is take Cooper down to the ground early and look for the submission. And since we know Cooper has historically had weak submission defense, I think Dern is successful. Look for the youngster to earn the submission win on pay-per-view, and if it's an impressive performance I expect the UFC to fasttrack her up the women's strawweight ladder with a top-10 opponent for her next figh.
Prediction: Mackenzie Dern via submission
Tags: betting preview
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Mixed martial arts journalist. Lead writer for MMAOddsbreaker.com and also featured at @MMARatingsNet, @mmanews_com and @fightodds_io.
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