Yan Xiaonan

Urijah Faber on Yan Xiaonan’s UFC Win: “She’s Got a Promotion Coming”

Yan’s strong performance in UFC Fight Night 211’s headlining bout against Mackenzie Dern was enough for her to win what can only be described as a ‘clash of combat styles’

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Matthew Bossons
1:27 PM HKT, Mon October 3, 2022 1 mins read

Chinese mixed martial artist Yan Xiaonan gave Chinese MMA fans a much-needed reason to rejoice this past weekend, winning UFC Fight Night 211’s headlining bout against Mackenzie Dern. The UFC event, alternatively promoted as UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan, was held at UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada.

The five-round strawweight fight was a big one for Yan (currently 16-3-0), who had fallen short of clinching the ‘W’ in her previous two contests against Marina Rodriguez and Carla Esparza. Despite the stakes — and bookies labeling her the +180 underdog, Yan entered the Octagon in fine form and defeated the higher-ranked Dern by a narrow majority decision.

Yan, a striker trained in the Chinese martial art of sanda, came out swinging and kicking in the first round and skillfully managed to avoid takedowns by Dern, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner. Dern used her grappling skills to dominate rounds two and five, although Yan’s strong performance in rounds one, three, and four was enough for her to win what can only be described as a ‘clash of combat styles.’

As you can tell from the video above, Yan was more than a little amped about her victory, letting out a yell after the judges’ decision was announced and dancing a little jig on the Octagon mat.

“I know her jiu-jitsu is amazing; she’s a black belt, and I’m a white belt. So, I knew what I should expect in this fight, but I trained so hard. Four times, five times on grappling in this camp. So I knew I could make it,” said a visibly excited Yan through an interpreter during her post-fight interview.

Likewise, China-based UFC fans were exuberant at the outcome of the main card’s anchor bout, particularly following rising Chinese MMA star Song Yadong’s disappointing loss to Cory Sandhagen at UFC Vegas 60 in September.

On the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, a hashtag for Yan’s win has amassed 14.7 million views, with one fan writing, “I was in tears while watching, such a narrow escape during the second and fifth rounds!”

Both Song and Yan fight out of UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male, and following the latter’s victory at UFC Fight Night 211, the veteran UFC fighter did not mince words when asked about Yan’s future: “She’s got a promotion coming for sure.”

The looming question now is: Who will Yan face next?

Cover image shows Yan Xiaonan vs. Cláudia Gadelha in November 2020; courtesy of UFC

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Matthew Bossons
Nov 14, 2022
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