Nina Nunes returned unsuccessfully to the UFC after nearly two years to no avail when aspiring challenger Mackenzie Dern took her second hand-bar submission win in three bouts to cement her strawweight title.

Nunes put her career on hold in October 2019 and gave birth to her first child with wife and UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes in September before preparing for her fight against Dern at UFC Vegas 23.

Dern, who put her own career on hold before giving birth to her daughter to professional surfer Wesley Santos in June 2019, sealed the win in the last seconds of the first round.

“I think that brings me to most of the strawweight entries,” beamed Dern, noting that she had drawn level with Gillian Robertson in four wins this way.

“Nina and Amanda are together – they are a team so all you do is with both of them.

“I look up to her so much. She’s been with the department since I joined the UFC and since we’re both mothers, I have a really good bond with her.”

Dern and Nunes hugged after their fight and the 35-year-old congratulated the winner afterwards.

“No excuses,” Nunes said of her 155,000 followers on Instagram. “I took this fight because I felt ready.

“I’ll be back. Thank you to all of my coaches and teammates for helping me prepare for this fight.

“Thanks to my family and friends for always believing in me. Tonight was their night.”

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