On October 1, the UFC returns to our screens for a highly stacked fight night event from the Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Top-ranked UFC women’s strawweight prospects Mackenzie Dern and Xiaonan Yan will lock horns in the center of the octagon for the main event of the evening.
Read on for our complete betting guide with an early preview of the UFC Vegas 61 headliner between Dern and Yan, including updated UFC odds and our free expert UFC Vegas 61 first look betting picks, predictions, and analysis.
Mackenzie Dern vs. Xiaonan Yan
UFC Vegas 61 Women’s Strawweight Main Event Bout
Saturday, October 1, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at Apex Center
- Pro MMA Record: 12-2-0 (7 submissions, 5 decisions)
Regarded as one of the most skilled women’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world, the No.4 ranked strawweight Mackenzie Dern returns next Saturday evening in her quest for UFC gold.
Dern previously owned the No.1 ranking in IBJJF (International Brazil Jiu-Jitsu Federation), and she has notably obtained ADCC and BJJ World Championship titles.
And this should go without saying, inside the MMA cage, grappling is her forte, and most competitors have struggled to escape her submission finishes.
Journey to MMA Gold
Dern began scrambling on the BJJ mats aged 3; as the daughter of two Brazilian black belts, her skills were honed at an early age.
Dern was so talented that she competed against adult women by age 14, and she collected championships at every BJJ belt grading. More impressively, Dern’s BJJ accomplishments were achieved before age 20.
In 2016 Dern transitioned her BJJ skills into professional mixed martial arts, where she made her debut for Legacy Fighting Alliance. Her MMA tenure began with a four-fight win streak and two submission stoppages before arriving at the UFC’s sister promotion, Invicta FC.
Debuting for Invicta with another submission stoppage saw Dern come to the big stage, and since competing in the UFC, she’s obtained a 7-2 promotional record with 4 submission finishes.
Mackenzie Dern Combat Sports Accomplishments
- UFC Performance of the Night (Three times)
- Most submission wins in the UFC strawweight division (Four)
- Most submissions wins among women in UFC history (Four, tied with Gillian Robertson)
- IBJJF World Champion (2015)
- IBJJF World No-Gi Champion (2015)
- UAEJJF Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion (2015)
- IBJJF Pan American Champion (2015/16)
- FIVE Super League Jiu-Jitsu Champion (2015)
- IBJJF European Open Champion (2015/16)
- Copa Podio Superfight BJJ Champion (2013)
- Pro MMA Record: 15-3-0 (6 KOs, 1 submission, 8 decisions)
Making her company debut in 2017, Xiaonan Yan became the first Chinese female fighter signed by the UFC.
With the support of a nation behind her and a recognizable achievement for women’s MMA in Asia, Yan lived up to the hype and stormed through the strawweight division to become a top-ranked competitor.
Between her debut in 2017 and November of 2020, Yan lived up to the hype and remained undefeated.
Experienced veterans such as Angela Hill and Claudia Gadelha couldn’t outwit the skills of Yan, skills that initially stemmed from her background in the martial art Sanda.
More impressively, Yan didn’t begin competing in MMA until 2015.
With a mere seven years of experience in the sport, she’s reached a No.6 world ranking in the women’s strawweight division and is a handful of victories away from making a title claim.
Dern vs. Yan: Breakdown and Analysis
Dern’s Fight Style and How Can Dern Defeat Yan?
Dern will be looking to grapple and ground this fight as soon as possible as a surprise to absolutely nobody.
Hanging around on the feet with Rodriguez will spell trouble for the former Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, but should this fight enter her realm, the elite level of BJJ she possesses should ultimately provide a dominant performance for Dern.
Dern’s striking has much to be desired, but she possesses the basics to disguise an oncoming takedown.
Yan Fight Style and How Can Yan Defeat Dern?
Yan is a technically sound striker and delivers the fundamentals in the stand-up area that can cause a severe problem for her opponents.
She is aggressive from the onset and will need to hone this approach versus Dern, who’ll be looking for every way to ground this fight, particularly through kicks that can be caught.
Yan isn’t lost in the grappling realm, but there’s no comparison to the skills of Dern in this area.
Dern vs. Yan: Prediction and Odds
The available UFC odds at top-rated sportsbooks favor Dern, and opposing these prices is difficult. The matchup is basic, Yan will want to strike, and Dern will want to grapple.
However, defending the takedowns of Dern for 25 minutes will be highly challenging for Yan, and should the fight hit the mat, a submission finish is inevitable.
Lateral movement, keeping her distance, probing jabs, and counter hooks may work for a short time, but eventually, it’s hard not to envision Dern getting this fight to the ground and having her way.
UFC Pick: Dern to Win (-210) at Everygame
UFC Vegas 61 Main Card and Odds
- Mackenzie Dern vs. Xiaonan Yan [UFC women’s strawweight main event bout]
- Randy Brown vs. Francisco Trinaldo [UFC welterweight co-main event bout]
- John Castaneda vs. Daniel Santos [UFC bantamweight bout]
- Raoni Barcelos vs. Trevin Jones [UFC bantamweight bout]
- Sodiq Yusuff vs. Don Shainis [UFC featherweight bout]
- Mike Davis vs. Viacheslav Borshchev [UFC lightweight bout]
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.