UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Rodriguez Predictions
Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez
BJJ ace Dern is riding a wave of momentum heading into this fight, having now won four fights in a row, with the fact that three of those came by first-round submission highlighting just how dangerous she is on the mat.
Like most other fighters, Rodriguez will want no part in tangling with Dern on the mat as she’s a technically sound stand-up fighter, who will be hoping to keep Dern on the end of her strikes, and will have a 2″ in height and 2″ in reach to aid her in that regard. Rodriguez also has relatively solid takedown defense, but if she is put on her back she can be controlled for extended periods.
Dern’s own striking has improved over time and she carries natural power, but I would still expect Rodriguez to be the smoother operator and win out a striking battle if that’s the way the action plays out.
So the question really is whether Dern can get the fight to the mat. I do have reservations about that as her takedowns aren’t as strong as her submission skills and it’s quite possible that rodriguez could frustrate her, but she is so lethal on the mat that it only takes one opportunity to lock-in a finish on the floor, and with five rounds to work with her odds of doing so increase and so I’ll take her to get the tapout she’s looking for.
Prediction: Mackenzie Dern to win by submission in Rd2.
Randy Brown vs. Jared Gooden
Brown’s UFC record has been a mixed bag, as evidenced by the fact that he was KO’d by Vicente Luque last year, but then bounced back this year with a submission victory against Alex Oliveira, taking his overall run in the Octagon to 7-4.
The 31-year-old actually has a very respectable set of skills and has shown his ability to finish fights both on the feet with his long and lanky striking style or on the mat by submission, though he’s not always the most fluid at blending all the aspects of his MMA game together.
After losing his first two fights in a row, Gooden finally got into the win column in impressive fashion last time out with a 68 second KO of Niklas Stolze back in July. So he’s certainly a threat on the feet with his power and he actually measures up fairly well against Brown’s lengthy reach, in addition to also having picked up a number of wins by submission during his time on the regional circuit.
However, I do feel that Brown has the stronger all-round game here and while it may be competitive on the feet, his skills on the mat will enable him to get the better of Gooden over three rounds to earn a decision victory.
Prediction: Randy Brown to win by decision.
Tim Elliott vs. Matheus Nicolau
After a run of three losses in a row, Elliott has turned things around with back-to-back decision wins and now goes up against Nicolau, who is on a three-fight winning streak and holds an overall 6-1 UFC record so far.
Elliott’s style is well-established by now, pushing a high pace while looking to get the fight to the mat, where he does his best work with his crafty grappling, with good scrambles and submission ability.
That being said, he has been submitted himself multiple times and though he is a tough competitor who is hard to finish via strikes, he can take a bit of a beating at times and is no stranger to being rocked.
Nicolau has the striking advantage here and will stay active with it, while also having solid takedown defense, which is going to be big factor for him, though it should be noted that he’s also a capable grappler too with a number of submission finishes to his name.
Overall, I have to take Nicolau here as I think his superior striking and solid takedown defense bodes well against Elliott and will leave his opponent wearing a significant amount of damage by the end of three rounds.
Prediction: Matheus Nicolau to win by decision.
Mariya Agapova vs. Sabina Mazo
Both fighters here hold 9-2 career records and are coming off a loss, with Mazo having more Octagon experience up to this point with a 3-2 stint in the UFC, while Agapova is 1-1.
Agapova’s last fight was a big upset, being TKO’d by a fighter in Shana Dobson who had come into the fight on a three-fight losing streak and a the time of writing has just two wins from her six UFC outings so far.
Agapova can find success when she’s on the offensive, particularly on the mat where she’s very capable with submissions, but there’s glaring defensive gaps in her striking game that are there to be exploited, while here defensive wrestling is suspect too.
Mazo lost on the scorecards to Alexa Davis last time out, and there’s no shame in that. She has an inch in height and two in reach over Agapova and is the better operator of the two at range, while she’s also capable in the clinch, but she doesn’t have a great deal of stopping power.
In the end I feel more comfortable siding with Mazo here and feel her work from range will help her get the better of the stand-up battle and edge out a win on the scorecards.
Prediction: Sabina Mazo to win by decision.
Phil Hawes vs. Deron Winn
‘Megatron’ Hawes comes into this fight off a trio of wins in the UFC, while Winn secured a decision victory against Antonio Arroyo all the way back in December of last year after losing two bouts prior to that.
The size difference between the two is vast here as Winn only stands 5ft 6″ tall, which sees him measuring up 6″ short in height and 7.5″ short in reach compared to Hawes. It’s remarkable then that despite his short, thickly built stature, Winn still struggles to make the 185lb limit, having now missed weight on two separate occasions.
On the plus side for Winn, he’s a powerful wrestler who will constantly go to the well with takedowns and is willing to embrace the grind and dominate the action with positional control on top when he gets there.
Hawes also has a solid wrestling background and in addition has showcased solid takedown defense. However, it’s the striking realm where he can really make his mark here as in addition to that vast size advantage he has the skills to back it up and packs a serious punch, in addition to also being a threat with head kicks, so I like his chances of becoming the first man to finish Winn by strikes by the second round.
Prediction: Phil Hawes to win by TKO in Rd2.
UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Rodriguez Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Chris Gutierrez vs. Felipe Colares
Jamie Pickett vs. Laureano Staropoli
Damon Jackson vs. Charles Rosa
Alexandr Romanov vs. Jared Vanderaa
Lupita Godinez vs. Sam Hughes
Felipe Colares vs. Chris Gutierrez
Steve Garcia vs. Charlie Ontiveros
Ross Cole is one of the most prolific mixed martial arts writers in the world, having written more than 17,000 MMA news stories for MMA Insight, which he founded in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts, and reaching millions of die-hard MMA fans in the process.
You can read more of Ross’s work at MMAInsight.com.