Yan Xiaonan is better than Mackenzie Dern almost everywhere. But…

Mackenzie Dern and Marina Rodriguez, UFC Vegas 39
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 09: (L-R) Mackenzie Dern punches Marina Rodriguez of Brazil in their women's strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 09, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Vegas 61 will be headlined by two contenders in the women’s strawweight division, Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan. This is a classic striker vs. grappler match, but only on the surface. As data suggests, not only is Yan a much more proficient striker but a wrestler as well. Both offensively and defensively. Let’s look at the numbers more closely. I don’t see why not.

According to UFC Stats, Yan lands 5.66 strikers per minute while Dern lands only 3.16 strikes. Xiaonan is a much busier and more efficient striker. But maybe Mackenzie has better striking defense than Yan; she doesn’t. Dern absorbs 4.35 strikes per minute vs. Xioanan’s 3.77. There is nothing surprising here since Xioanan is a striker, and Mackenzie should hold an edge on the ground. Well, it is complicated.

The most amount of takedowns Mackenzie landed in her nine UFC fights is one. Yes, uno. And she managed to submit only one of her opponents from the takedown. Dern, however, doesn’t rely on takedowns when attempting submissions; three of her submission wins came without landing a takedown, so it is very important to understand that she doesn’t need a takedown to get a sub, but there is a caveat to that. Mackenzie doesn’t have a submission win outside of the first round. So, if the fight goes past the first round, by all indications, Dern’s chances of winning by sub will subside drastically since, as we established, Xiaonan is a busier and more proficient striker. Surprisingly, Yan lands more takedowns more accurately and defends them at a higher rate. With all that information, how are sportsbooks seeing this fight?

Mackenzie is currently as high as -250 favorite, which is a 71.43% implied probability rate. I’m speechless but let me try to finish this article.

There is a good chance Dern will find an early submission, that’s her best path to victory, but if she doesn’t, and it goes past the first round, Yan should be able to outstrike Mackenzie and win by decision.

Official Prediction: Yan Xioanan to win by Decision.