Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez UFC Betting Odds & Pick: Bet the Total in Main Event
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez.
- Mackenzie Dern is favored over Marina Rodriguez in the main event for UFC Vegas 39 on Saturday evening.
- Sean Zerillo is targeting the total, and thinks this fight will finish early.
- Get his full breakdown of Dern vs. Rodriguez below.
Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez Odds
In a violent stylistic matchup, a future strawweight title challenger could emerge from Saturday’s main event between No. 4 ranked Mackenzie Dern and No. 6 Marina Rodriguez.
Oddsmakers expect this five-round fight to end inside more than 75% of the time (listed -350, or 77.8% implied at FanDuel). Some bettors may be wary, however, after last week’s main event between Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker — which closed at -650 (86.7% implied) for the same prop — went the full 25 minutes.
Dern is one of the most decorated jiu-jitsu practitioners in UFC history and has secured first-round finishes in three of her four fights on her current winning streak.
Rodriguez is a dangerous Muay Thai striker with a 50% finish rate who has experience in marquee five-round fights, coming off a 25-minute win against Michelle Waterson in her main event debut in May.
Below, I’ll preview this matchup in-depth and provide my thoughts on where you can find actionable value on Saturday night.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||8:22||13:37|
|Weight (pounds)||115 lbs.||115 lbs.|
|Date of birth||3/24/93||4/29/87|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.64||4.89|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.57||3.24|
|Take Down Avg||0.51||0.28|
In this matchup, Rodriguez is the far more technical and potent striker (+1.65 to +0.07 strike differential; 102% to 99% combined efficiency). She will look like a massive favorite in hindsight if she can deny the takedowns (62% career) and keep this fight standing.
However, Rodriguez hasn’t shown much ability off of her back to this point in her career and figures to get controlled for the entirety of each round if and when this fight hits the mat — unless she gets submitted first.
Dern has 25 minutes to find a way to put Rodriguez on her back. In December, she scored a quick and clean win, including a smooth trip takedown and pass, over Nina Nunes (career 76% takedown defense).
If Dern has figured out how to improve her judo or her offensive wrestling (0.51 takedowns per 15 minutes, 10% accuracy), she’s going to be a nightmare for the 115-pound division.
Dern’s stand-up has improved throughout her career. Still, she hasn’t faced a striker of this caliber and got busted open in a close decision win over a significantly less powerful jiu-jitsu practitioner in Virna Jandiroba last December.
She may not have to worry about closing the distance, however. Rodriguez doesn’t necessarily make the most out of her length (a two-inch advantage in height and reach). She tends to pressure her opponents and fight at close range, while doing some of her best work out of the clinch.
Given the stylistic nature of this matchup, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dern try to pull off a flying armbar or more try to pull guard and look to sweep, as Rodriguez is backing her up against the cage.
There is a path where Dern plays matador and waits for her opportunity to grapple. Rodriguez seems less likely to stay outside in the small cage at the APEX — letting Dern come forward and initiate the clinch exchanges against the octagon is a possible recipe for disaster.
It’s hard to envision Dern securing enough top time to win on the scorecards without finishing the fight inside the distance. However, stranger things have happened.
And while Rodriguez could secure a one-sided, volume and damage-based decision, if she’s staying out of trouble in the grappling realm, then she should have multiple opportunities to finish the fight.
Dern vs. Rodriguez Projections and Pick
I projected Mackenzie Dern as a 64.3% favorite (-180 implied) in this contest, and I project this fight to end inside the distance 74% of the time (-289 implied).
As a result, I don’t show value on either side of the moneyline. I would need a price closer to -165 on Dern or +197 on Rodriguez to make a play.
Depending on the book, you can find value betting this fight to end inside the distance (-250 at PointsBet vs. -300 at DraftKings vs. -350 at FanDuel, for instance). I wouldn’t take any price past -250, however.
Dern in Round 1 (+275) or Round 2 (+540) and by submission (-105) was my initial read on this fight. Her submission prop is at a fair number (projected -106), and either of those Round props is worthy of consideration.
However, I’m not necessarily tied to the Dern side in this fight, and I don’t see enough value to make those plays with confidence.
I’m significantly more confident that this fight finds its way to a finish — given the stark difference between the style and skill of these two fighters in different areas of MMA.
Despite the slight projected value, I don’t love laying -250 on the inside-the-distance prop, considering that strawweight fights only end inside the distance 56% of the time (-127 implied),
Consider betting Under 2.5 Rounds (to -150); the “Fight Doesn’t Start Round 4” prop (-175); or the Under 3.5 Rounds (-200).
The Under 2.5 should cover most of the potential finishes in this fight — save for a cardio dump or damage-related finish — so we’ll make that the official play since it’s the most publicly available and hope to cash all possible tickets.
The Pick: Under 2.5 Rounds (bet to -150, 0.5u)