UFC Vegas 61 went down last night (Sat., Oct. 1, 2020) in a semi-empty Apex arena in Las Vegas, Nevada which saw Yan Xiaonan defeat Mackenzie Dern via majority decision in the main event of the evening (see it again here). In the co-main event, Randy Brown outlasted Francisco Trinaldo to earn a unanimous decision win, snapping the longtime veterans two-fight win streak.
Biggest Winner: Yan Xiaonan
After a wonderful performance against Dern, Xiaonan likely won’t get a shot at the title next but she can breathe a bit easier knowing that she is back in the win column and avoided a three-fight losing streak. Xiaonan was great on the feet and when it went to the ground, her defense was top notch against a competitor who is as dangerous as they come when it comes to the submission game. Xiaonan might also sneak into the Top 5 with the win, but even if she does not she showed that she can hang with the best and is ready to pick up some steam to get into the championship picture.
Runner Up: Randy Brown
Don’t look now, but Brown has won four in a row after he defeated Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision. Overall, Brown is 6-1 in his last seven fights. That will go a long way in helping him climb the ladder of 170 pounds, which is a little tougher to do than in other divisions because it is absolutely stacked with world-class talent. Breaking into the Top 15 will be tough, but Brown is making all the right moves, putting on great performances and winning convincingly to get people’s attention.
Honorable Mention: Sodiq Yusuff
Yusuff picked up his second straight win in impressive fashion by submitting Don Shainis in just 30 seconds of round one. The win puts him at a very impressive 6-1 so far inside the Octagon after coming out of the Contender Series. Yusuff may not be getting the PR love he wants at the moment, but his latest victory should put him on the radar for a bigger fight moving forward. This was a big win for him that gives him a great boost of confidence going into his next fight.
Biggest Loser: Mackenzie Dern
It’s not that Dern put up a bad performance, necessarily, because she fought like hell to get a finish in the final round, and came close, knowing she was down on the scorecards. But the reason why Dern gets this spot is because once again the jiu-jitsu ace loses in a big fight that could have catapulted her closer to her first-ever shot at the title. With the tough loss, Dern has to now go back to the drawing board and will probably lose a spot or two in the rankings. That said, she can use this defeat as a learning tool moving forward and improve. She has the time to start another streak, but this latest blow will be a tough one for her immediate championship aspirations since she is now just 1-2 in her last three fights. She has the talent, but there seems to be one key piece missing to put her over the edge, and it’s up to her and the team to figure it out if she wants to get back into the mix.
For complete UFC Vegas 61 results and coverage click here.