1664697083 Mark Zuckerberg watches as Yan Xiaonans submission defense shines with

Mark Zuckerberg watches as Yan Xiaonan’s submission defense shines with an impressive win

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 01: (RL) Yan Xiaonan of China elbows Mackenzie Dern in a strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Yan Xiaonan moves up to 16-3 after her win over Mackenzie Dern on Saturday and is getting closer to a strawweight title fight. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Mackenzie Dern is one of the most decorated jiu-jitsu artists to ever compete in the UFC, and that skill could yet take her to a world championship.

But it was Yan Xiaonan’s ability to fend off Dern’s persistent attempts at submission, particularly in Rounds 2 and 5, that brought her one step closer to a championship shot. Yan won a majority decision with a double score of 48-47 and 47-47 at Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday, with judge Mike Bell giving Dern a 10-8 in the fifth to declare the draw. Yahoo Sports had it 48-47 for Yan.

“I know their jiu-jitsu is amazing,” said Yan, who entered the fight in sixth place at the strawweight division, one spot behind Dern.

But Yan was just as amazing on a card fought with no other media and fans other than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan and some Facebook employees. Yan was the underdog but came into the fight with a determined punching edge and used her punches to mostly throw Dern off balance.

Dern floored the fight for a long stretch at the end of the second and for much of the final round when trainer Jason Parillo told her she was behind and needed to finish. Dern did exactly what Parillo asked, shooting into the firing line from the corner to open the fifth.

It paid off when Dern tripped Yan, but try as she might, she couldn’t finish. Team Alpha Male coach Urijah Faber said that this was due to a year of steady grappling work.

“She’s put in so much work over the past year [and] she specifically followed suit [Team Alpha Male] working on grappling,” Faber told Yahoo Sports. “Her fighting dern wasn’t our choice, but thank god she comes a full year in advance. It took us all that time.”

UFC President Dana White not only gushed about Yan’s performance, but Dern’s performance as well. But he admitted it would have been hard to believe Yan would have made it to the finish if he had known beforehand that she would be spending so much time with Dern on the ground.

This has earned her great respect from White.

The story goes on

“We just sat here and talked, and when I spoke to Mackenzie, Mackenzie just said, ‘She’s an absolute samurai warrior, never say die, and she was so tough,'” White said. “Staying down for four minutes with a highly motivated Mackenzie Dern says a lot about Yan.”

White had plenty of praise for Dern, saying she had both “the jiu-jitsu and the chin to be a champion. Man, can she take a shot?”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 1: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook/Meta is present during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 1, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg applauds the action at UFC Vegas 61 at the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Dana White and Mark Zuckerberg become friends

The apex was closed by White due to Zuckerberg attending the map. White said that Zuckerberg was an MMA fan and invited White to his house for dinner.

That set the stage for Zuckerberg and Chan and some Facebook employees to attend the show, without media or regular fans. Yan’s father flew in from China for the show but watched his daughter’s biggest win from the dressing room.

When asked if Zuckerberg was interested in buying the company or getting involved, White laughed but never answered directly.

“I guess let me put it this way: He hit me up and asked me to meet him at this house for dinner,” White told Yahoo Sports. “I did. I flew in and we had dinner. We had a great time and we made it. He’s a big fan of the sport. He’s a big fan of the sport. I set it up so that he and his people to watch a fight, I said, ‘Choose a fight’ and they came down.

“Obviously I can’t tell you everything that’s going on, but he’s a huge fan.”

Yahoo Sports then asked, “So does he want to be involved in some way?” White replied, “I don’t know, mate.

When he later pressed why he decided to close Apex to fans and media when many significant celebrities attended UFC fights at Apex, White was mom.

“There are reasons,” White said. “I wouldn’t close it unless we had to, but there are reasons. But I won’t talk about that publicly.”

UFC President White raves about Santos’ comeback win

Daniel Santos’ second round KO victory over John Castaneda was a wild back and forth that would have won the fight of the night and had the crowd going wild.

Castaneda was dominant in the first round and almost ended the fight on several occasions.

But Santos weathered the storm and came back with great success. The beginning of the end came in the second when he landed a huge knee to his chin while Castaneda had his back to the cage.

Castaneda immediately went down and it was stopped.

“Amazing heart because I thought he was out and he came back, he wore him down and eventually broke him,” White said of Santos. “The fight was incredible and of course it was the fight of the night.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 01: (LR) Daniel Santos of Brazil beats John Castaneda in a 140 pound catchweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Daniel Santos (L) dropped John Castaneda in the head with a vicious knee to earn the KO win at UFC Vegas 61 on Saturday. (Photo by Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC)