UFC Vegas 61 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Mackenzie Dern vs. Yan Xiaonan: Bet This Fighter to Win Inside Distance (Saturday, October 1)

UFC Vegas 61 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Mackenzie Dern vs. Yan Xiaonan: Bet This Fighter to Win Inside Distance (Saturday, October 1) article feature image

Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC strawweight Mackenzie Dern

  • Strawweight contenders Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan headline Saturday's UFC Vegas 61 card.
  • The fight pits the jiu-jitsu of Dern vs. the striking and power of Xiaonan.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the main event and gives his best bet for the fight below.

Mackenzie Dern vs. Yan Xiaonan Odds

Dern Odds
Xiaonan Odds
2.5 (-135 / +105)
UFC Apex in Las Vegas
9:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

A future strawweight title challenger could emerge from Saturday's UFC Vegas 61 main event between No. 5-ranked contender Mackenzie Dern and No. 6 Yan Xiaonan.

Dern is 7-2 in the UFC and has received four performance bonuses in eight bouts. Saturday's event (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+) will mark both her second main event appearance and five-found fight.

Xiaonan is 6-2 with the promotion but has dropped consecutive bouts against Carla Esparza and Marina Rodriguez, who defeated Dern in a UFC Fight Night main event last October. Saturday will mark her first-ever main event appearance or five-round fight.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday's matchup and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan main event.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time10:5714:07
Weight (pounds)115 lbs.115 lbs.
Reach (inches)63"63"
Date of birth3/24/19936/16/1989
Sig Strikes Per Min3.165.66
SS Accuracy35%42%
SS Absorbed Per Min4.353.77
SS Defense54%62%
Take Down Avg0.461.06
TD Acc9%66%
TD Def40%65%
Submission Avg2.00.0

The five-round format likely favors Dern, whose cardio held up in the championship rounds against Rodriguez. Conversely, Xianoan has slowed down in the third round of her previous fights and may fall apart entirely if she's dragged to deep waters.

Moreover, Dern needs only one moment to change the outcome in a bout she is losing. It seems exceedingly unlikely that most fighters can spend 25 minutes in a cage with Dern without getting put into a bad position. And particularly in a smaller cage at the UFC Apex facility, she can back opponents up more quickly and use the fence to her advantage.

While Dern's wrestling is extremely subpar (9% takedown accuracy), she is more than capable of pulling guard or securing a standing back take to get her fights where she is most comfortable: grappling. And one grappling exchange may be enough for her to finish.

Xiaonan's takedown defense is below-average (65%), and she is even worse once you put her on her back. Dern seems like a terrible matchup for her, as the former ADCC winner may cut right through Xiaonan's defenses and finish the fight quickly if she can drag her opponent to the mat.

Xiaonan is the superior striker (+1.89 to -1.19 significant strike differential; 104 to 89 combined accuracy and defensive percentages), but Dern has made substantial improvements to her standup game to become far more measured in her approach. While I expect the Chinese fighter to win minutes on the feet, the striking may be more competitive than public perception heading into the bout.

However, imagining Dern winning minutes without finishing the fight is challenging. Her recent fight against Tecia Torres was the exception, and she held the dominant position for long enough to win a split decision. Still, she nearly finished that fight on several occasions too.

And throughout 25-minutes, Dern should have multiple opportunities to grapple and finish Xiaonan; that finishing upside outweighs her opponent's minute-winning ability.

Dern vs. Xiaonan Pick

I projected Dern as a 69.5% favorite (-228 implied odds) in this fight, and I don't see value on either side of the moneyline.

Moreover, I expect this bout to end inside the distance 65% of the time (-184 implied), and I don't project value concerning the totals.

However, I expect Dern to record a finish slightly more often than the odds suggest, placing her submission chances at 52.1% (-108 implied, and her knockout odds at 3.47% (+2779 implied).

Considering that the betting market set those odds closer to -110 (52.4% implied) and +1000 (9.1%), respectively, I would anticipate her inside the distance or finish prop to get set closer to -160 (61.5% implied).

However, with Dern's finish prop currently listed at -120 (54.5% implied) at DraftKings, I certainly see value in playing those outcomes together, though it's only a moderate edge compared to my projection of 55.5% (-125 implied odds). I'm comfortable betting Dern to win inside the distance up to -125.

Often, the book will tell you what the fair odds for a prop "should be" based upon the derivate props correlated to the same outcome. And in this scenario, there is an apparent discrepancy between Dern's ITD prop and the combined expectation of her knockout or submission props, even after accounting for vig.

The Pick: Mackenzie Dern wins Inside the Distance (-120 at DraftKings)

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