LAS VEGAS – When Mackenzie Dern wanted to sharpen her striking to help back up her world-class grappling skills, she put her trust in seasoned coach Jason Parillo. But, while her hands were noticeably improved in her unanimous decision win over Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256, she revealed she knows enough about her coach not to believe absolutely everything he tells her.
Speaking to reporters, including MMA Junkie, backstage after her hard-fought victory at the UFC Apex, Dern joked about the suspected broken nose she sustained during the fight, and recounted her conversation with Parillo between rounds when she was concerned that her nose had been broken for the first time in her career.
“I don’t think I’ve ever really got a lot of blood in a fight before, so when I got it, it didn’t hurt too bad,” she explained. “I just heard the sound. But when I started to see all the blood, I thought, ‘OK, maybe it’s a cut.’ I’m praying it’s a cut! Then in the corner I asked my coach, ‘Is it broken?’ and I think he said, ‘Oh, no! It’s OK! It’s just a cut!’ and I thought, ‘OK, I know my coach. It’s probably broken!’”
Dern was able to joke about the exchange, with Parillo’s assurance helping her to bite down on her mouthpiece and use her newly sharpened striking skills to claim scores of 29-28 across the board and notch her 10th career win.
It was a tough, gritty encounter, but Dern said she thought she’d done enough to get the nod from the judges.
“Yeah, I thought I won. I thought it was two for me, one for her,” she said, before joking, “I thought like, ‘Man, I broke my nose and I tried to come back in the third round, so I hope they give it to me!’”