UFC Fight Night: Mackenzie Dern vs. Angela Hill – Winners and Losers

The real winners and losers from UFC Vegas 73: Dern vs. Hill

By: Trent Reinsmith | 1 week ago
UFC Fight Night: Mackenzie Dern vs. Angela Hill – Winners and Losers
Mackenzie Dern | IMAGO photographer: David Yeazell

Mackenzie Dern picked up her first win in a UFC main event on Saturday in the headlining bout of UFC Vegas 73. Following losses to Marina Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 39 and Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61, Dern delivered the most complete performance of her UFC career, dominating Angela Hill in every way and picking up a one-sided unanimous decision win.

In the co-main event, Anthony Hernandez overcame a slow start to wear down Edmen Shabazyan and pick up a third-round TKO win to extend his winning streak to four straight.

Before that, Joaquin Buckley and Diego Ferreira delivered memorable main card knockouts.

UFC Vegas 73 took place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The entire card streamed on ESPN+. Read on for the winners and losers from the event.

UFC Vegas 73 winners

Mackenzie Dern: Mackenzie Dern promised we’d see a more aggressive version of her in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 73 fight card. The 30-year-old fighter delivered.

Dern, who entered her matchup opposite Angela Hill as the No. 8 fighter in the official UFC strawweight rankings, set personal bests in takedowns, significant strikes landed, and total strikes landed while also picking up her first knockdown since her second UFC fight back in 2018. The fact that Dern didn’t pick up a single submission attempt only came down to Hill’s ability to fight off armbars that were close to being locked in.

Dern can still be reckless in her striking, and her takedowns remain less than stellar, but Dern deserves an opponent ranked above her in her next UFC outing.

Mackenzie Dern speaks to Michael Bisping after UFC Vegas 73

UFC Vegas 73 main event judges: Despite Dana White’s, incorrect, calls for fewer 10-8 rounds, the judges in the Saturday’s main event combined to give Mackenzie Dern seven 10-8 rounds. That’s good judging.

Anthony Hernandez: Known as a tough middleweight who can take a lot of abuse and come back to win fights via his cardio and wrestling, Anthony Hernandez fought to his strengths and exploited the weaknesses of his opponent, Edmen Shahbazyan, in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 73.

Hernandez had some rough moments in the first round, but he turned things around to get the third-round stoppage win. Hernandez is now on a four-fight winning streak, and he should be closing in on the top-15 of the UFC’s 185-pound division.

Hernandez is not the most skilled fighter in the division. Still, if he can start quicker as he moves forward, he will be a handful for any opponent, especially those with suspect cardio and a lack of wrestling acumen.

Lupita Godinez: Lupita Godinez stepped up to face Emily Ducote on short notice on the main card of UFC Vegas 73, and her gamble paid off as Godinez picked up a decision win. Godinez’s approach to this matchup was smart. She outworked Ducote. While Ducote attempted more significant strikes, Godinez landed at a higher percentage thanks to her counters and combinations. Godinez also did an excellent job of defending takedowns and keeping the fight where she could score the most points. 

The former LFA strawweight champ is on a two-fight winning streak and 4-1 in her past five outings. 

Joaquin Buckley: If Joaquin Buckley wanted to let everyone know that he is serious about his UFC career after dropping to welterweight, he sent that message in a big way on Saturday, closing out his UFC 170-pound debut with a highlight reel head kick knockout and a, let’s call it emotional, reaction after that win. 

Buckley was on a two-fight losing skid at middleweight ahead of UFC Vegas 73. 

Diego Ferreira: Diego Ferreira found an opening for his right hand, and when that punch landed, it stiffened Michael Johnson and ended the fight in a frightening manner. Ferreira’s knockout victory ended a three-fight losing skid for the 38-year-old.

Viacheslav Borschev: Viacheslav Borschev ended a two-fight UFC losing skid in a statement-making manner. The 31-year-old bounced back from an eye poke from his opponent, Maheshate, in the first round to nearly finish the fight via strikes at the end of that stanza.

What was impressive about Borschev’s stoppage was that he scored a knockdown early in the second round but did not force or rush things after that knockdown. Instead, he remained calm and stuck to his game plan, which resulted in a third knockdown and a second-round knockout finish.

Borschev’s weak spot has been his ground game. Following his win over Maheshate, the UFC matchmakers might give Borschev a chance to show how he’s improved on that front in his next outing.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz: Karolina Kowalkiewicz picked up her third straight win with a decision victory over Vanessa Demopoulos. The 37-year-old was 0-5 between September 2018 and August 2021. Kowalkiewicz won the fight by effectively using her length and speed and exploiting Demopoulos’ tendency to throw most of her strikes with full power. 

With her third straight victory, Kowalkiewicz will likely get a shot at a ranked opponent in her next outing. 

Gilbert Urbina: Gilbert Urbina stepped into the octagon for the first time in nearly two years on Saturday. He performed well, stopping Orion Cosce in the second round of their scheduled welterweight scrap. Urbina took the fight to Cosce from the start and never took his foot off the gas pedal.

The 27-year-old Urbina earned himself a step up in competition following his win over Cosce. I wouldn’t mind seeing Urbina rematch Bryan Battle, with both fighters entering that scrap off full camps.

Chase Hooper: Chase Hooper, who is still only 23, had a decent lightweight debut against Nick Fiore, who has never picked up a win in a fight that has gone beyond the first round. 

While Hooper had success in his striking in this fight, that aspect of his game continues to be an issue. Hooper lacks power, and his punches are slow and wide. A win is a win, but I didn’t see anything here that makes me believe the change in weight divisions will change much about his career trajectory. 

I believed before this fight, and I still feel the UFC should send Hooper to a smaller promotion to get some seasoning and experience. 

Natalia Silva: Natalia Silva did everything right in her flyweight fight opposite Victoria Leonardo. Her striking was fast and didn’t rely on single strikes. Every time Leonardo tried to close the distance, Silva, a former Jungle Fight champion, stopped her in her tracks with strikes. 

Silva, at 26, is now 3-0 in the UFC with two finishes. As noted after her last win, Silva is a striker first, and there is some concern about her ability on the mat. Nevertheless, Silva is a flyweight to watch, and it will be interesting to see how the UFC matches her up in her next outing, as she was the biggest favorite on Saturday’s fight card. 

Kerry Hatley: Referee Kerry Hatley did an excellent job stopping Natalia Silva vs. Victoria Leonardo contest at the right time. Hatley could have allowed the bout to go on, and some referees would have done so, but he read Leonardo’s body language, which said, “that’s enough,” and stopped the fight.

Themba Gorimbo: Themba Gorimbo earned a unanimous decision win in his second UFC fight with a dominant performance over Takashi Sato. Gorimbo looked good in this fight, outclassing Sato in every way, going three for eight in takedowns, racking up more than 11 minutes in ground control, and picking up a second-round knockdown.

UFC Vegas 73 losers

Angela Hill: Angela Hill was ready for Mackenzie Dern’s submission game. However, she most likely did not expect that Dern’s striking would be as powerful as it was.

Edmen Shahbazyan: A change in camps and a win in December did not fix the weaknesses in Edmen Shahbazyan’s MMA game. He remains a pretty good striker with poor cardio, lackluster takedown defense, and a dreary defensive ground game.

Andre Fialho: Andre Fialho was the more controlled fighter in his welterweight scrap against Joaquin Buckley. He also landed his significant strikes at a higher percentage than his opponent. However, his approach failed to win him the fight, as Buckley starched him with a head kick in the second round. 

With the loss at UFC Vegas 73, Fialho has three straight knockout setbacks.

Kerry Hatley: Whatever goodwill referee Kerry Hatley earned in stopping the Silva vs. Leonardo fight, evaporated when he allowed Joaquin Buckley to land an unnecessary blow to a down and out Andre Fialho.

UFC: On a night where there were two big boxing events, an NHL playoff game, and an NBA playoff game, the UFC didn’t give sports fans much of a reason to tune into UFC Vegas 73 before the event.

Yes, the event delivered plenty of entertainment, action and storylines, but for those who decide if they are going to watch an event based on pre-fight card opportunity costs, this card, like many ESPN+ events, was lacking on paper. Simply put, the UFC’s approach to its ESPN+ fight cards has been to provide content, not quality. That’s bad business.

Herb Dean: I get it; refereeing combat sports is hard. However, referees need to be conscious of where they are during a fight and how quickly they can get between the fighters if need be. Herb Dean’s positioning was poor in the Diego Ferreira vs. Michael Johnson scrap, resulting in Johnson eating a strike after being knocked cold.

Michael Johnson: Michael Johnson’s run without two consecutive wins moved to more than four years when Diego Ferreira knocked him out in the second round of their lightweight scrap. With the loss, Johnson’s record since March 2019 fell to 2-6. He is 5-11 since August 2015.

Orion Cosce: Orion Cosce came in heavy for his welterweight scrap against Gilbert Urbina. He then went out on fight night and had little to offer. Cosce will need a much better performance in his next outing if he wants to stick with the UFC.

Nick Fiore: Nick Fiore’s lack of cardio hurt him in his UFC debut, a decision loss, which took place in January. He once again struggled in that department. Fiore also had problems in striking defense against Hooper, who did not demonstrate the best striking technique throughout this contest.

Takashi Sato: Takashi Sato came into UFC Vegas 73 on a three-fight losing skid and 2-4 in his UFC career dating back to 2019. Sato failed to produce any meaningful offense in his welterweight fight against Themba Gorimbo until the last few seconds. With a fourth consecutive loss, don’t be surprised to see Sato fighting for another promotion when he next competes.

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About the author
Trent Reinsmith
Trent Reinsmith

Trent Reinsmith is a freelance writer based out of Baltimore, MD. He has been covering sports for more than 15 years, with a focus on MMA for most of that time. Trent focuses on the day-to-day business of MMA — both inside and outside the cage — for Bloody Elbow.

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