All the headlines around the prelims for UFC 222 start and end with Mackenzie Dern.
But what about Dern’s opponent Saturday night live on FOX Sports 1 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas?
That’s Ashley Yoder, who has fought twice before in the UFC, owns five career wins and was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter.
The 30-year-old Yoder from Indiana knows she has an incredible chance to shock the world when she meets the multi-time BJJ world champion Dern, who is making her UFC debut.
“It’s an opportunity,” Yoder said earlier this week during media day. “We all go into the Octagon with no special gifts. We go in as our own fighter and I’m looking for the upset. I’m looking to be known.”
Yoder is a purple belt herself in BJJ under Ricardo Feliciano. She competes out of the Team Quest gym and has scored four submission wins to her credit. While she is comfortable on the ground, she knows in MMA, the fight can go anywhere – and that’s exactly how “Spider Monkey” likes it.
“Definitely looking to just be where I am comfortable,” she said. “I’m not looking to make it a grappling match. Honestly, I don’t mind getting bloody. I just like to have a good fight.”
With Dern garnering most of the attention, Yoder is content to fly under the radar and explode after the fight.
“I always give credit when credit is due,” Yoder said. “MMA is a different game. MMA is way different because you are getting punched in the face. On that side of it, I’ve had my fair share of face-punching and cuts; I’m okay with being anywhere in the cage.”
During her stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Yoder bested Jodie Esquibel as part of Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s team. She fell in the next round to Kate Jackson via decision.
In 2016, Yoder made her Octagon debut vs. Justine Kish, falling via decision. She also lost a decision to former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill this past July.