Strawweights Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez have the chance to get one step closer to a title shot on Saturday, fighting in a five round headliner bout. The fight sits atop a nine-bout UFC “Fight Night” card that is set to happen at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.
Preliminary Card (2:00PM EDT / 11:00AM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Main Card (4:00PM EDT / 1:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass Canada)
Bout 9: Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) vs. Mackenzie Dern (11-1) (Strawweight)
Rodriguez Uses Striking To Defeat Dern, Continue Strong 2021 Campaign
Marina Rodriguez picked up her second consecutive UFC main event win on Saturday night, going five rounds against Mackenzie Dern for a safe unanimous decision win (49-46, 49-46 & 49-46).
The strawweight pairing was a real clash of styles, as it was the striking skills of Rodriguez against the grappling of Dern. Most rounds were solely on the feet, allowing Rodriguez to out-strike Dern and get ahead with a comfortable lead in the late rounds.
Rodriguez took the first round, being able to land the better shots as the fight remained on the feet.
The fight went to the ground in the second round, where Dern was able to take complete control and take numerous minutes of control time while attempting to work towards a submission. In retrospect, this round turned out to be the best for Dern.
Rodriguez nearly shut Dern out on the feet in the third round, making her go many minutes into the frame without landing a strike on her.
Rodriguez dictated the battle for most of the fourth round with her striking on the feet, but Dern was able to score a takedown and land punches from full mount in the final minute of the round.
The contest continued to favor Rodriguez for the final five minutes of action.
The victory strengthened a strong 2021 run that Rodriguez has put together. She started the year by stopping the quickly-rising momentum of Amanda Ribas via stoppage at UFC 257. She then took a short-notice main event win in May, defeating Michelle Waterson up at flyweight.
Dern was entering Saturday night after a strong series of wins since her 2020 return. She had four consecutive wins before Saturday, including three first-round submission victories.
Bout 8: Randy Brown (13-4) vs. Jared Gooden (18-6) (Welterweight)
Brown Sweeps Scorecards Against Gooden Following Striking Battle
Experienced welterweight Randy Brown prevailed in a stand-up battle against Jared Gooden in the co-main event, taking all three rounds in a unanimous decision outcome (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Brown opened the fight with a good first round, hurting Gooden with strikes. He landed a front kick early in the fight that landed clean on Gooden but didn’t knock him down.
Brown seemingly suffered a foot injury early on, moving awkwardly at times on the feet. After the fight concluded he mentioned that the early front kick was what he thought caused the injury.
Gooden upped his output in the second round, although he found himself trouble late in the frame as Brown unloaded with a flurry of shots.
Brown finished the fight with a good third round, out-landing Gooden once more. Most of the fight was on the feet, although Gooden was able to notch a takedown in the final round.
Brown is now on a two-fight winning streak that includes a submission win over Alex Oliveira from earlier this year.
Gooden now has a UFC record of one win and three losses. His sole win was his prior fight, where he stopped Niklas Stolze in just over a minute with strikes.
He missed weight for his welterweight bout, coming in three pounds over the limit Friday.
Bout 7: Tim Elliott (17-11-1) vs. Matheus Nicolau (16-2-1) (Flyweight)
Nicolau Makes Comeback For Decision Victory Over Veteran Elliott
Matheus Nicolau scored a close win on Saturday, going three rounds against veteran Tim Elliott for a unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
The flyweights fought at a quick pace through the entire 15 minutes of action.
Elliott had a good start to the fight with a solid first round, although Nicolau was able to make a comeback and steal the fight two-rounds-to-one on scorecards.
Nicolau was able to land takedowns on Elliott in every round. While he didn’t secure any takedowns, he was able to notch numerous minutes of control time on the ground.
Nicolau won his return to the UFC in March, defeating former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape.
Bout 6: Mariya Agapova (9-2) vs. Sabina Mazo (9-2) (Flyweight)
Agapova Closes Out Successful Return With Third-Round Choke
Mariya Agapova closed out a strong return on Saturday with a third-round submission over Sabina Mazo, catching her with a rear naked choke.
Agapova set up for the choke by knocking Mazo down with a right hook in the final round. She then immediately jumped on the back of Mazo with a rear naked choke, causing a tap to occur only seconds later.
Agapova had already taken the lead in prior rounds, standing on the edges of the cage and connecting at a high frequency in a counter-punching role.
Agapova was coming back after taking her first UFC loss last year, being on the losing side of an upset to Shana Dobson. Her promotional record is now two wins and one loss.
She called out Maryna Moroz following her win.
Mazo had a three-fight winning streak snapped in her previous fight, losing to veteran Alexis Davis in February.
Bout 5: Chris Gutierrez (16-3-2) vs. Felipe Colares (10-2) (Bantamweight)
Gutierrez Continues Bantamweight Climb, Dedicates Win To Coach Montoya
Chris Gutierrez showcased his striking skills to open the main card, taking a split decision victory over Felipe Colares (29-28 Colares & 30-27 Gutierrez & 30-27 Gutierrez).
Gutierrez had the better striking over Colares throughout, throwing a wide range of strikes including numerous leg kicks to out-land.
The victorious bantamweight has yet to lose through his last six UFC appearances. Gutierrez picked up a scorecard win earlier this year as well, defeating Andre Ewell on scorecards.
Gutierrez was emotional after his fight, dedicating his bout to lead coach Marc Montoya.
“I want to thank you because you gave me my life back in a way,” said Gutierrez to Montoya during his post-fight interview.
Colares was returning after defeating Luke Sanders in May.
Bout 4: Alexandr Romanov (14-0) vs. Jared Vanderaa (12-5) (Heavyweight)
Romanov Extends Undefeated Record With Stoppage Victory
Alexandr Romanov’s undefeated heavyweight run continued in the final bout of the prelims, stopping Jared Vanderaa late in the second round with ground and pound strikes.
Romanov’s wrestling-heavy performance saw him take Vanderaa down numerous times, allowing him to unload with ground and pound from favourable positions. He had a one-sided fight in the second round, scoring with dozens of shots to Vanderaa before the referee stopped the fight in the final minute of the frame.
Romaov has now earned four wins since joining the UFC roster last year. He picked up a technical decision in his prior fight, defeating “The Ultimate Fighter” winner Juan Espino in April.
The win made Romanov just one of three active UFC fighters that have an undefeated record of 15 wins or more.
Vanderaa was coming back after scoring his first promotional victory in May, besting Justin Tafa on scorecards.
Bout 3: Charles Rosa (14-5) vs. Damon Jackson (18-4-1) (Featherweight)
Jackson Returns To Win Column In Bloody Battle Against Rosa
Damon Jackson’s early work on the ground secured him a decision win on Saturday, defeating Charles Rosa in a fight that became bloody in the late minutes (29-28, 29-27 & 30-27).
Jackson pulled ahead in the fight through two rounds, taking Rosa down and showing dominance on the ground.
A cut opened on the head of Jackson only seconds into the final round due to an elbow from Rosa. Jackson was bleeding at an alarming rate following the strike, causing the fight to be paused a minute into the round so that the bleeding could be slowed down.
The final minutes of the fight became a bloody battle on the ground, as Rosa had the better grappling positions over Jackson.
Rosa has alternated between winning and losing a fight since joining the UFC roster in 2014. His previous fight was in June, where he earned a split decision win over Justin Jaynes.
The performance on Saturday put Jackson back into the win column after suffering a finish loss against Ilia Topuria in late 2020.
Bout 2: Lupita Godinez (5-1) vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-2) (Strawweight)
Godinez Uses Dominant Wrestling, Grappling For First UFC Victory
Loopy Godinez had a controlling one-round performance over UFC newcomer Silvana Gomez Juarez, submitting her early with an armbar. The finish came after Godinez used her wrestling to control Gomez Juarez, taking her down and taking her back easily.
Godinez, a former LFA Strawweight Champion, now has her first UFC win. Her first fight in the promotion was a loss earlier this year, dropping a decision to the returning Jessica Penne.
Gomez Juarez was getting her UFC debut on short notice, stepping in to replace Sam Hughes. She entered the octagon on a three-fight winning streak.
Bout 1: Charlie Ontiveros (11-7) vs. Steve Garcia (11-4) (Lightweight)
Garcia Has Successful Return, Picks Up First UFC Win
Steve Garcia used his wrestling to stop a flashy striker in Charlie Ontiveros, putting him away with ground and pound strikes in the second round.
Ontiveros had an explosive opening minute to the fight, stunning Garcia with punches and landing a couple of knockdowns. Garcia turned things around and potentially took the round after, scoring a takedown that allowed him to notch numerous minutes of control time and do damage with elbows.
Garcia connected with another takedown early in the second frame, allowing him to advance into full mount and score ground and pound strikes to finish the fight.
Garcia was making his first appearance in over a year. His first UFC bout came in early 2020, where he lost a fight to Luis Pena.
Ontiveros lost his UFC debut up at middleweight last year, losing a short-notice bout against Kevin Holland.