UFC Vegas 61 was a sellout with Facebook Owner and Creator Mark Zuckerberg and his wife being the only fans in the arena. The rumor being that Mackenzie Dern is Zuckerberg’s wife’s favorite fighter. Despite this the fights on the night were excellent performances. The main event turned into an upset and the final prelim was a brilliant showing by Brazilian Daniel “Willycat” Santos.
- Mackenzie Dern Vs Yan Xiaonan
- Round by Round, Play by Play
- F.O.T.N. John Castaneda vs Daniel Santos
- Facebook Takeover
Mackenzie Dern Vs Yan “Fury” Xiaonan
A very close match between these two excellent fighters. As the main event for UFC Vegas 61 Both Dern and Xiaonan gave their all in this five round slugfest. Mackenzie found herself with multiple opportunities to get the submission win however couldn’t find the tightest of grips against “Fury’s” defense.
Clearly looked to favor the stand up striking Xiaonan. However her takedown defense and Chinese wrestling style also shined through. Her body kicks and quick jabs seemed to keep Mackenzie on the back foot. Dern took serious strikes to the chin and still managed to make two takedown attempts.
Dern takes advantage of her Brazilian Jiu jitsu. Her first takedown attempt was countered by “Fury” pretty hard with her ending up in mounted position dropping shots from top position. Dern quickly turned this around and went in for an omoplata arm hook. She turns into an arm triangle held behind Yan’s waist and gains back control. However Yan makes a quick adjustment and breaks free from the submission. Mackenzie continues to pressure her and follows up with an arm bar but the round finishes before she can complete the takedown.
Mackenzie went in for another single leg takedown that Xiaonan avoided swiftly. Dern throws a powerful body kick and is met with an explosive return combination from Xiaonan. As Mackenzie moves forward she receives a huge left hand from “Fury” that wobbles Dern. Mackenzie composes herself and attempts another takedown before the round ends.
Mackenzie takes many strikes with damage from every single angle. Xiaonan really picked up the pace in this round with her striking. Although Mackenzie attempted two takedown attempts in this round both ended up being defended solidly.
Finally we see Mackenzie go in for the kill. She manages to get a swinging strike in and pushes for another takedown attempt. Her grappling really played dividends for her potential to win out this round and the match. She gets full mount and starts dropping ground and pound on Xiaonan. As Yan Xiaonan scrambles she ends up giving her back to Dern who tightens her hold and moves in for the armbar once more. But just like round 2 she doesn’t have enough time and can’t find the submission win.
With that it’s decided that Xiaonan wins the match with the judges scoring the contest as 47/48, 47/48 and 47/47. An argument many fans and news agencies have made is that there was potential for the match to end in a draw with the final round being favored to Mackenzie 10/8.
The RDX Pick: John Castaneda vs Daniel Santos
Brazilian Daniel “Willycat” Santos displayed great willpower and determination to come back in the second round for a finesse finish on John Castañeda. The final prelim of the day was a brilliant display from Daniel who fought extremely hard to find his victory.
Daniel moves in, all cylinders burning, for a powerful strike on John Castañeda. Santos doubles in for a takedown but gets quickly countered and stuck in the headlock guillotine of “Sexi Mexi” Castañeda. Santos dexterously slips out and they return to stand up striking. John lands a massive head kick on Santos and he falls back but keeps guard on John who is now standing. He lands an up-heel kick to the face of Castañeda from that position on the ground. John looks wobbled. Santos manages to get back up but is still unbalanced.
John fires a left that pushes him back down. Santos makes distance and stands up once more. He begins pressuring Castañeda and finds his jabs and combinations connecting in the pocket. John returns the pressure and moves in for a takedown though he doesn’t utilize his half guard position efficiently. Santos once again makes distance and stands up. He’s met by another head kick that wobbles him. Santos is getting mauled by Castañeda. Though he manages to make distance and looks like he’s recovered. An elbow lands from Santos and John’s eye looks battered. The bell rings for the first round.
The fight returns in the center of the octagon with both fighters touching gloves again. They exchange shots before an accidental low blow by Santos stops the match. John looks irritated but calls for a continuation after a minute. Santos starts firing again and pressuring John to the cage side. Castañeda begins countering effectively before eating a hard leg kick. Another strike shifts the fight to the ground with Castañeda scrambling to get back up and create some distance between them to the opposite side of the octagon.
Santos strikes with two flying knees as his opponent backs away and lands both of them. A brutal combo that has John absolutely seeing double. Santos fires a huge right hand followed up by a left. John is slowing down a lot in the final minutes of round 2. Santos moves in one more time and locks in a clinch behind John’s neck. Daniel uses that opportunity for another high knee kick and John is knocked-out. Castañeda drops backwards to the ground and the referee calls the match.
What a brilliant display from Daniel “Willycat” Santos. He had completely wiped out in that first round but still found such an exciting and devastating win against a very strong fresh opponent. Both fighters looked amazing in that match and many are calling Santos a younger Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira.
Facebook Buys Out The UFC?
UFC Vegas 61 was an excellent event with the entire arena being bought out by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. His wife, Priscilla Chan seemed to be having an equally shocking time in the front seats alongside Dana White. Zuckerberg in the meantime was having a brilliant time watching all the action and even smiling for a couple of photos.
— BREEZY (@breezygoblue) October 2, 2022
Mackenzie Dern said the event was booked for her because she’s Priscilla’s favorite fighter. But UFC President Dana White has denied any such claim.
RDX hopes the next UFC event is open for media and fans but otherwise a brilliant showcasing of raw talent and skill from the many fights at UFC Fight Night 211 ( UFC Vegas 61 ). We got to see so much action at this event and it has set the tone for how exciting the rest of October will be.