Nina Nunes made an unsuccessful return to the UFC after almost two years out of action, as rising challenger Mackenzie Dern earned her second armbar submission win in three fights to cement her strawweight title credentials.
Putting her career on hold in October 2019, Nunes gave birth to her first child with wife and UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes in September before preparing for her scrap against Dern at UFC Vegas 23.
Dern, who put her own career on hold before giving birth to her daughter with professional surfer Wesley Santos in June 2019, sealed victory in the closing seconds of the first round.
“I think this brings me to the most submissions in the strawweight division,” Dern beamed afterwards, noting that she had tied with Gillian Robertson on four wins by that method.
“Nina and Amanda are together – they’re a team, so everything you do is with both of them.
“I look up to her so much. She’s been in the division since I got into the UFC and, for the fact that we’re both moms, I have a really good connection with her.”
Dern and Nunes embraced after their fight, and the 35-year-old congratulated the winner afterwards.
“No excuses,” Nunes told her following of more than 155,000 on Instagram. “I took this fight because I felt I was ready.
“I will be back. Thank you to all my coaches and teammates who helped me prepare for this fight.
“Thank you to my family and friends for always believing in me. Tonight was her night.”