This was a closely fought striker vs. grappler battle over five rounds in which Yan Xiaonan would ultimately win out on the scorecards thanks to a mixture of striking together with takedown and submission defense.
The strawweight main event is underway in Las Vegas.
Leg kick for Yan to start. Right hand lands for Dern. Side kick to the leg from Yan. A couple of right hands over the top from Yan.
A couple of punches connect for Yan as Dern is pressing into range. Dern with a brief flurry. Yan going for the side kick to the thigh.
Dern throws out a one-two but Yan backs away from it. Yan lands to the knee again with the side kick. Glancing right hand for her now.
Dern pressing into the clinch against the cage now as she tries to manufacture a takedown attempt from here. She’s working on a single leg, but Yan has good balance and stays upright. They go right across the cage and Dern is still trying to hang on and remain clinched up.
Yan able to break free though and get back to striking range. She lands a leg kick. Kick for Dern and now she’s driving into another single leg attempt. It doesn’t pay off and she tries to pull guard instead, but Yan gets free.
Dern with a flurry of left and right hands without making a clean connection, but then goes for a hip toss attempt, only to pull Yan down on top of her. However, Dern scrambles on top. Yan stands against the cage and Dern remains clinched up as the round ends.
Front kicks from Yan and then throws off a right hand. Dern tries a body kick, falls to the mat, but then butscoots over to Yan and pulls her down into guard.
Dern looking for an opportunity to sweep here, but as she’s doing so Yan lands a couple of punches to the head.
Slick work from Dern as she sets up an omaplata and then is able to transition on top from that. Nasty position here as Yan’s shoulder is compromised, but then Dern switches to an arm triangle. Yan defending nicely though, but Dern stays on top and is working to full mount.
Punches from Dern. Yan gives up her back and Dern gladly takes it. Nice punches from Dern and then looks to work for rear-naked choke. Now the transition to an armbar, buy Yan is surviving and Dern settles for taking her back again and lands punches in the remaining seconds of the round.
Leg kick for Yan. Another inside leg kick. Front kick to the body. Dern flurries to try to close the distance, but Yan circles out.
Back to the leg kicks for Yan. One-two for Dern. Brief clinch and Dern pulls guard. She’s trying to set something up and Yan wisely opts to back out and go to the feet.
Body punch from Dern. Flurry of straight punches from Yan. Solid body kick from Dern. Calf kick for Yan. Another body kick from Dern.
Dern tries to clinch up, but Yan moces away. calf kick from Yan. Front kick for Yan. Dern feeling out with the jab. She lands an outside calf kick.
Good left hand from Yan buckles Dern’s legs momentarily. Jab for Yan. Inside leg kick. She tries for another kick and Dern does well to catch that and tries for a takedown, but Yan gets her leg free.
Low kick for Yan. Head kick from Dern actually lands, but didn’t have any heat behind it.
Right hand for Dern. Final minute of the round. Hard right hand from Yan. Body kicks from Dern. leg kick for Yan.
Leg kick for Dern. One from Yan. And again. Jab for Dern. Dern with a couple of punches to get into the clinch, then lands a nice takedown. She’s looking to improve her position as the round ends.
Nice jab for Dern. Low kick for Yan. Jab gets through again for Dern. Side kicks for yan to get distance. Right hand for Yan.
Straight right gets through for Dern. Now she goes in for a takedown against the cage. Single leg attempt from Dern, but Yan defends it well.
Yan lands a leg kick. Good body punch from Dern, but then eats a punch upstairs from Yan. Another punch for Yan. She gets through with the right hand again. Now a leg kick.
Dern able to get into the clinch via punches and is now trying for a throw, but it doesn’t pay off and she ends up on the mat with Yan still upright. She tries to butscoot but Yan is wise to it this time and backs away.
There’s a heated exchanges of punches at close range. Nice right hand from Dern. Inside leg kick from Yan. Body kick for Dern.
Another inside leg kick from Yan and then one to the outside. Side kick for Yan too. Dern into the clinch and trying for a throw again. She falls to the mat, but Yan ends up on top again.
Dern has her in guard now. A minute left to work. Yan staying tight on top. Heels to the top of the leg from Dern. Now she starts to work for an omaplata, but not able to get that for now.
Dern now working for an armbar. She’s setting it up nicely, but the round ends before she can fully lock it in.
Good flurry of punches from Yan. Dern still pressing forward swinging for the fences anyway. She gets into the clinch against the cage and is trying for the throw again. This time she is actually able to land that in the center of the Octagon and moves into full mount.
Good sense of purpose from Dern here. She’s looking to set up an armbar attempt. Yan turns to her back. Dern landing some good punches.
Dern continuing to chip away with these punches. Yan able to move over closer to the cage. Two minutes remaining.
Hammerfists from Dern. 90 seconds remaining. She’s trying to open up a rear-naked choke opportunity but Yan is turtling up and not giving her much of an opening.
A few punches again. Time running out for Dern. Dern going for broke now as she works for an armbar. She’s almost pulled that arm out, but then her grip slips and Yan is able to get free.
Now it’s Yan who gets on top in the final seconds of the round and she’s throwing punches as Dern also throws from her back too. We’re headed to the scorecards.
So Dern was dominant when she got the fight on the mat here, but Yan limited her opportunities to get the fight there in the first place and was able to avoid being submitted on the occasions that there were prolonged spells on the mat.
Meanwhile, Yan was also able to get the better of the striking exchanges and that would ultimately lead her to a majority decision victory (48-47 x2, 47-47).