Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba Odds, Pick and Prediction: Back the Brazilian Underdog at UFC 256
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Virna Jandiroba.
- Mackenzie Dern has been a steady favorite leading up to her UFC 256 matchup with Virna Jandiroba, but Sean Zerillo thinks the value is on the underdog.
- He explains why and gives analysis for this women's strawweight fight below.
Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba Odds
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Top-15 women’s strawweight contenders Mackenzie Dern (No. 11) and Virna Jandiroba (No. 13) look to shoot up the 115-pound rankings when they meet in the octagon Saturday.
This fight was initially slated to be among the preliminary bouts, but has since been moved to the main card after COVID-19 positives shuffled things around. Both fighters have a chance to push their respective streaks to three wins in a row pending Saturday’s result.
Below I break preview the matchup and odds for this UFC 256 main card matchup. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||7:45||7:40|
|Date of birth||3/24/93||5/30/88|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.07||1.22|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.66||1.52|
|Take Down Avg||0.39||4.57|
Dern vs. Jandiroba Pick
I have been looking forward to this fight – and backing Jandiroba as an underdog – since its booking, while trying to patiently time the peak price on the Brazilian.
The American-born Dern opened as a -156 favorite (implied 61%) and climbed near -200 (implied 66.7%) on Thursday, but after getting close to +180, Jandiroba’s price keeps correcting back to around +160, and I like her moneyline down to +138 (implied 42%); a five-percentage point edge compared to my projection (47%).
Dern offers some of the best jiu-jitsu in MMA, but Jandiroba is also a black-belt and a top-flight grappler. The grappling skill gap between the two isn’t as wide as you think, and Jandiroba possesses the ability to dictate, through her wrestling, where this fight goes.
Virna should have a significant wrestling advantage in this matchup. Dern has been unable to get her opponents to the ground (7% takedown accuracy) without pulling guard or relying on them to make fight IQ mistakes) and if Jandiroba times her entries (4.6 takedowns per 15 minutes, 50% accuracy) and avoids grappling errors, she should spend the majority of this fight in top control.
I give Dern the edge on the feet. She has more power and has made greater strides in terms of technique.
I don’t expect Virna to be able to out-strike Dern from range as Amanda Ribas did in Dern’s lone MMA loss (72-19 edge in distance strikes), for instance, but I do expect Jandiroba to turn this fight into a grind, neutralize her opponents’ sweeps and submission attempts from the bottom position, and potentially look like a significant favorite by the end of the first round.
I would be fairly surprised if Virna finds a finish, and I like her decision prop down to +211 (projected +184) in addition to her moneyline.
The Pick: Virna Jandiroba (+160)