Mackenzie Dern: “I’m training how to escape from the 50/50 guard”

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Mackenzie Dern. Photo: Erin Herle/ GracieMag

Mackenzie Dern. Photo: Erin Herle/ GracieMag

Mackenzie Dern failed to take the gold in the last edition of the IBJJF Pan in late March, in Irvine. In the absolute, the petite fighter eliminated Talita Treta with a choke, but then succumbed to Gabi Garcia. In the featherweight, Megaton Dias’ daughter was overcome by Luiza Monteiro, by 6-4.

Ready for Abu Dhabi, during the WPJJC on April 13 and 14, she spoke to GRACIEMAG and analyzed the defeat in the final, talked about the 50/50 guard and explained how to win a six-minute fight: “It is strength all the time.”

GracieMag: How do you rate your performance in Pan and the defeats against Gabi Garcia and Luiza Monteiro?

MACKENZIE DERN:  My campaign in Pan was not the worst. In the absolute, I submitted Talita from the back and lost the semifinal to Gabi Garcia by submission, but I was third in the absolute. In my category, I proceeded straight to the final because my first opponent didn’t show up, and lost in the final to Luiza at the last minute.

Where did you go wrong?

There were wrong things in the fight. I learned that even wanting to attack and making a forward game, the opponent can still restrain the fight. I was wrong because I didn’t expect this. I thought there was some irregular moves in my fight on 50/50 guard, and also the fight got pretty ugly (laughs), but I know that each one has a strategy to win, and that’s valid. It is always a pleasure to fight with Luiza, an experienced and very tough black belt. I think I lost by my own technical error after all: I shouldn’t have attacked for a submission when I was winning, so few seconds to end the fight. But it was an error of a new black belt (laughs).

How was the training for WPJJC?

The training was great. With the help of my father Megaton, my boyfriend Augusto Tanquinho and all the guys, my game is evolving. I kept my fitness workout because you can’t rest in a six-minute fight; it is strength all the time (laughs)! I train about six hours a day. I do my Jiu-Jitsu training, my physical preparation and I’m teaching a class exclusively for women and I end up training and do drills with the whole class.

Are there any positions that you are training extensively?

Yes, how to get out of the 50/50 guard. Actually, I’m training to take over the space and make a fairer game. I want to lose less positions as possible.

Who can hinder your way to gold in Abu Dhabi?

I know there are several tough girls that will give me a lot of work. There are Michelle Nicolini, Jessica Cristina and Nadia Melo. They will be there for real, but anyone has the chance of winning. It will be a great championship.

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