The UFC has been back in action for several weeks but made its first appearance back at home in Las Vegas on Saturday night for UFC Fight Night. While still without fans, the UFC presented a solid night’s worth of action that was headlined by a quality welterweight bout between No. 1 contender Tyron Woodley against No. 6 Gilbert Burns and featured a history-making moment by Mackenzie Dern.
Mackenzie Dern makes history against Hannah Cifers
In the UFC Fight Night’s women’s straw-weight contest, Mackenzie Dern (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) entered her match a decided favorite against Hannah Cifers (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC). In the opening minutes, the underdog Cifers came out the aggressor, attacking Dern and landed a solid knee shot to the head followed by a couple of knees to the body. Dern was in full-retreat mode.
After Dern collected herself, the two fighters locked up in the middle, when Dern dropped and threw Cifers to the ground. Instead of getting back to her feet and backing away, Cifers made a huge mistake staying within Dern’s range. The high-level grappler grabbed hold of Cifer’s leg and locked down a kneebar.
Cifers momentarily tried to get out of Dern’s grasp, but soon realized she couldn’t and tapped. Mackenzie Dern’s win was historic as it was the first leg submission of any kind in women’s UFC history. When asked in the post-fight interview about her future, Dern said she wasn’t hurt in the fight and would be willing to fight again in July or August.
Billy Quarantillo outlast Spike Carlyle
In one of the better matchups for UFC Fight Night, Spike Carlyle (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) came out charging and dominated the first half of the first round against Billy Quarantillo (13-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC). In the second half Carlyle’s pace slowed as he tired. A bizarre moment concluded the first round when Carlyle began walking casually back to his corner with seconds still remaining in the round. Seeing the opening, Quarantillo got in a quick left hook to the head as the horn sounded.
The second round was much of the same with Carlyle coming out early on the attack. The two got to their feet with two minutes remaining when Quarantillo took over. He delivered a solid knee to the body. Carlyle answered, grabbed Quarantillo, and the pair went down to the ground. Quarantillo appeared to have a triangle choke, but Carlyle managed to escape just as the round ended.
In the final round Quarantillo appeared to have another submission halfway through the round, but Carlyle showed his elusive skills once again by escaping. The contest ended with the two fighers standing toe-to-toe each landing a flurry of punches in the final 10 seconds, making it a legitimate fight of the night contender.
In the end, Billy Quarantillo won by unanimous decision to extend his fight streak to 7 and improve his record to 14-2.
Gilbert Burns dominates former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley
The UFC Fight Night main event featured former welterweight champion and No. 1 contender Tyron Woodley (19-4-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC), who was making his return to the octagon for the first time in 18 months, against the No. 6 Gilbert Burns (18-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC.)
Gilbert Burns showed early on he was the superior fighter connecting on a big right uppercut within the first minute that stunned Woodley and opened up a giant gash over his left eye. After that initial flurry of punches, the two went to the ground for the remainder of the first round where Burns stayed on top and dominated.
During the opening break Woodley’s corner told him to reset and be more aggressive in the second round. He did, but it was only temporary as Burns managed to get an impressive takedown halfway through the second against Woodley, who coming into the fight had a 94 percent success rate in defending takedowns.
In the third, both fighters stayed upright and Burns got in a couple of crisp shots to Woodley’s head midway through the round. Burns opened the fourth with a flurry of punches that connected before taking down Woodley for the second time in the match.
In the fifth and final round both fighters were tired, but Burns looked the better fighter as he did throughout most of the match. By the end of the fight, Burns had landed more significant strikes than Woodley had even thrown. In the end, Burns physically imposed himself on Woodley and was awarded the unanimous decision. Burns improved to 12-3 in UFC while Woodley, one of the most dominant welterweights in recent UFC history has now lost two in a row and has a little bit of soul searching to do.