What makes MMA so interesting to so many people is its very nature, which involves a blending of different styles of competitive fighting. Although directly attached to the creation of MMA, high-level jiu-jitsu these days is something we may not see as much of as some other styles. MMA has now made itself a common fixture on to many of the major betting outlets in Vegas and online for that matter. For this reason, it’s always exciting when a capable jiu-jitsu fighter comes along.
UFC 222 is fast approaching and will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 3rd and fans of high-level jiu-jitsu should rejoice on this particular card. You can check out the entire fight card line up on the official UFC site. Aside from the main and co-main events, one of the main prelim fights, which will be broadcast live on FS1, is a particularly interesting fight. That would be the strawweight (115-pound division) showdown between up-and-coming fighter, and jiu-jitsu wizard Mackenzie Dern vs. Ashley “Spider Monkey” Yoder, a tough Ultimate Fighting veteran who has thus far struggled in UFC.
This is interesting largely because of Dern’s background, not just as a successful fighter who currently sports an undefeated MMA record, but as a highly decorated jiu-jitsu expert. That’s just what Dern is, however. She’s a multiple-time IBJJF World Champion who even grabbed the attention of the BBC, who wrote an article covering her move to the UFC, specifically acknowledging her as the best female grappler (presumably in the world). So far in her MMA career outside of UFC, Dern has gone 5-0 in fights, pulling off some high-level submission wins which have only enhanced her reputation. All things considered, she appears to be one of the more exciting UFC fighters in a new crop making their way on to the UFC roster in either the women’s or men’s divisions. Dern will likely be favored to win her bout, and could quickly become one of the great rising stars in the sport.
Moving on to the Co-Main event we have the opportunity to witness what looks to be an absolute fireworks show with two fighters who are known for their toughness, high work rate, and technical acumen. Brian “T-City” Ortega steps up to fill in, taking on Former UFC Lightweight Champion and Ricardo Almeida black belt Frankie “The Answer” Edgar.
Ortega, a black belt under the brothers Rener and Ryron Gracie comes into this challenge, undefeated and fresh off of one of the most impressive guillotine submissions ever executed inside of the octagon, although he may not have the same accolades on the competitive jiu-jitsu circuit as Dern, make no mistake about it, Ortega proudly carries the banner of jiu-jitsu into the cage and represents the art at its highest level on that plane. You could say the same for his opponent Edgar, who is no slouch himself when it comes to the art of submission. Having a handful of submission victories of his own, Edgar is always hunting for the finish for the full duration of the match anytime he steps foot into the octagon. Learn more about these two fierce competitors here.
Closing the card is the main event between Cris Cyborg, who will be defending her Featherweight title against current Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Yana Kunitskaya of Russia. Fresh off of her workmanlike decision victory over Holly Holm, Cyborg is also no stranger to “the gentle art”. Although her victories in MMA usually come in the form of knockout or stoppage, she proudly flies the Atos flag as a brown belt under Andre Galvao and can be seen from time to time at any given tournament. You can also check out some of Cyborg’s favorite techniques in Issue 57 of our magazine.
From UFC debut to rising stars and established legends, whatever the case, keep an eye out for viewing options for UFC 222, because it could be a card to remember. Check out the entire countdown feature here.
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