UFC on ESPN+ 52: Dern vs Rodriguez - Predictions - 10/09/21
Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez
I wrote in the preview article that this is a fairly standard grappler vs striker matchup with Dern being the former and Rodriguez being the latter.
Although Dern is a very high level BJJ practitioner, her other attributes are still in development. Her wrestling is pretty rough but through persistence and athleticism she’s had some success there. Her striking seems to be improving but we are working with a small sample size from recent fights as she’s snatched up first round subs in 3 of her last 4. The decision win during that run was against another grappling specialist so we got to witness lots of non technical looping shots.
If she brings that striking game anywhere near Rodriguez she’s going to get pieced up. When analyzing Rodriguez going into her previous fight against Waterson I said this “On the flip side, Rodriguez’s takedown defense is 59%. It’s not good, it’s not disastrous but I gotta say, once she does hit the mat on her back, there is absolutely no urgency to get up. Her technique on the shots she does defend is also pretty bad, to the point that even undersized Waterson could have success.” In that fight we saw Rodriguez dominate on the feet for 4 rounds. The 1 round she lost saw Waterson shoot a double leg and score it easily. She then held her down and Rodriguez’s feeble attempts to push off from the cage did nothing.
So, my main question here is can Dern get this to the mat with subpar wrestling? I’m going to say yes. She showed in her last fight against Nina Nunes enough technical improvement in this realm that I’d say she can get this fight to the ground early. It’s a small sample size and that blitz forward thing she does could get her rocked but that’s the risk. Putting this against Rodriguez’s susceptibility to get taken down by small strawweights (in which this is not a small sample size) and I’d say Dern subs her or takes 2 rounds with top control. One potential x factor to consider here however is this will be Dern’s first 5 round fight. It’s not uncommon to see fighters slow right down early in anticipation for a long fight when they hit the main event for the first time. Dern is certainly most dangerous in round 1 so too much complacency swings the odds in Rodriguez’s favour.
Prediction: Mackenzie Dern
Randy Brown vs. Jared Gooden
Gooden jumped into a short notice fight against Niklas Stolze back in July and certainly made the most of it. He poured it on him early and scored an impressive knock out in the opening minute. I’m unsure if this was the plan because of the short notice slot or if it’s a new found aggression but it certainly worked. He would be wise to stick with that plan for this one. I say that because it seems like these guys are pretty evenly matched with Brown holding the edge in UFC experience and Gooden being the seemingly more durable of the two. When that’s the case, the aggressor is usually the one with their hand raised.
I have no doubt Gooden will be looking to keep things entirely on the feet while Brown will for the most part do the same with a small amount of takedown attempts thrown in. For my money, I like the way Gooden just picked up and slammed Stolze when he tried to initiate a grappling game last time out. If he keeps that killer mentality I’d say he has what it takes to keep the fight standing and then find Brown’s chin somewhere early in the fight. Gooden makes it 2 in a row in the underdog role. The weight miss adds a layer of unknown here so probably not safe from a betting standpoint but I’m going to stick with the pick and see it through.
Prediction: Jared Gooden
Quick picks in bold.
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