#UFC224 Predictions: Dern vs Cooper, Nunes vs Pennington

Tonight, UFC 224 touches down in Brazil with two exciting women’s bouts that can likely steal the show!

On the main card, Mackenzie Dern will make her sophomore UFC appearance versus “ABC” Amanda Bobby Cooper in a catchweight bout. The grudge match remains on the card despite Dern coming in seven pounds over the strawweight limit. Later that night, in the main event of the evening, Amanda Nunes will attempt to make her third title defense against top contender Raquel “Rocky” Pennington.

Before the bell sounds, the WMMA Rankings panel share their predictions for the tonight’s fights below!

MacKenzie dern vs Amanda Cooper

JILL: Mackenzie Dern has been on a great run in terms of Octagon wins, though she’s been navigating a bumpy road as far as weight cutting and training are concerned. We may not know exactly how missing weight and separation from the MMA Lab will affect her performance (not to mention a quick turnaround from her last fight), but we do know that Amanda Cooper is quite a contender. As long as Cooper can avoid the takedown, I think she takes the fight. Cooper by TKO.


TERENCE: The BJJ phenom had a tougher time than expected with her first UFC opponent, Ashley Yoder, and had to settle for a split decision victory. ABC presents her own sets of issues. She’s a better striker than Yoder. However, she’s also not as skilled on the ground, and I think that will be her downfall. Prediction – Mackenzie Dern by second-round submission.


STEPHEN: Mackenzie Dern will have the advantage on the ground. But if the fight stays standing, Cooper should win. Dern is fantastic with her Jiu-Jitsu game and improved on the feet. There’s a ton riding on this fight for Dern seeing that her father is from Brazil and will be watching her fight live for the first time. Cooper has developed into a pretty good fighter. If she can keep this fight on the feet it will be hers for the taking. Dern, Submission Round 2.


NICK: I see a clear path to victory for both of these ladies– Dern with her BJJ and ABC with her boxing and angles. I don’t think that either lady is ready for elite competition just yet but they are both young in their careers (with only six fights each) and have a ton of potential.  ABC has a fire in her this time around that is really fun and exciting to watch. While I am tempted to choose ABC via TKO, I can’t get out of my mind the fact that all three of Cooper’s losses are by way of submission. On that fact alone (plus Dern’s weight advantage), I see Mackenzie securing the win.


amanda Nunes vs Raquel Pennington

JILL: I am of the opinion that Raquel Pennington is being vastly underestimated. This is a woman who dominated former champion Miesha Tate and choked out Jessica Andrade – among others. I expect her to put on an impressive performance. That being noted, however, I don’t expect Amanda Nunes to go anywhere anytime soon. The belt looks good on her, and she knows it.
Nunes by decision.


TERENCE: The champ is fighting a tough, gritty challenger with the Women’s Bantamweight title on the line. I think this will likely be a back and forth fight that will test each woman’s determination and endurance. “Rocky” has a lot of heart so I think she will hang in there for the duration, but I think Nunes will get the job done.  Nunes by split-decision.


STEPHEN: The champion Amanda Nunes is on an absolute tear – winning her last 6. In this streak Nunes has beat some of the best in the Bantamweight division; Rousey, Tate, Shevchenko (twice). But she will have some added pressure, Fighting in her home country of Brazil in the main event and fighting her friend. I think that’s the biggest question in this fight – what Nunes and what Raquel Pennington will show up for this fight? Will the two friends keep distance? Or will they throw down for 5 rounds and be friends afterward? I’m guessing they will engage in a fight and a nasty one at that. Pennington is not scared of getting hit. She will take one to give two. And that’s what she will need to do to win the strap. Keep it standing and mix it up with Nunes in hopes she tires in the championship rounds. Pennington, Split-decision.


JAY: This fight is like a real life Rocky fight: Pennington, the scrappy underdog vs Nunes, the heavily favored champ. The kid in me hopes the home crowd will be chanting “Rocky, Rocky, Rocky” but in reality I believe Nunes will make easy work of Pennington. I’m giving Nunes three knockout in round 1.


NICK: I’ll be completely honest here, when this match-up was first announced I didn’t think Rocky would have much of a chance The more I think about it though, I realize I was severely underestimating Pennington, who is never an easy out. She’s durable, gritty, and determined and those are qualities that it will take to dethrone the champon. With that being said, I think Pennington will put up a great scrap but I have Amanda winning wherever the fight goes.



Will Cooper hand Dern her first loss? #AndNew or #And Still?

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