UFC 256 – December 12, 2020: Virna Jandiroba vs Mackenzie Dern

Fight Study – December 12, 2020


Two ranked contenders in the strawweight division take center stage when Virna Jandiroba faces Mackenzie Dern on Saturday. Both fighters have won their last two fights and will be looking for their third straight. Dern has the favor of the oddsmakers and will carry the higher salary in DFS contests. She is available for $8,700 on DraftKings and for $19 on Fanduel. Jandiroba is priced at $7,500 and $12 respectively. This fight is scheduled for three rounds and the current betting odds make it a small -120 favorite to go the distance.

Jandiroba is 16-1 as a professional with her only loss coming by decision to the division’s top wrestler, Carla Esparza, in her UFC debut. She is 2-1 in the octagon and has finished her last two opponents by submission. In her 16 victories she has 13 wins by submission and 3 wins by decision. Jandiroba is a jiu-jitsu black belt and one of the division’s best submission specialists. She will need to be at the top of her submission game if she wants to best Dern, however, who is a black belt herself. Jandiroba is a bit one dimensional, however, and although her striking shows improvement she is not an elite fighter on her feet. She will need to contend this fight on the ground and hope to score an upset with her grappling skills.

This is no easy task against Dern who is a high level grappler herself. She is 9-1 overall with 6 wins by submission and 3 wins by decision. Her only loss came against Amanda Ribas who is also a high level grappler with good stand-up skills. Dern is 4-1 in the UFC and she has three first round submission wins in that span. She has the striking advantage and power advantage in this fight, but her edge in grappling has been greatly exaggerated. If this fight goes to the ground, she will find herself in a much closer fight than the oddsmakers suggest. Dern is currently +165 to win by submission. Jandiroba is handicapped at +1425 to win by submission. This line is way off and I believe that this fight will be very closely contested if it goes to the mat.

Neither fighter has yet to win by KO/TKO in their careers. I don’t believe either fighter is an elite striker although Dern appears to be the better of the two in their stand-up. Both fighters have extensive jiu-jitsu backgrounds and they both feel most comfortable on the ground. Dern may look to stay upright, however, as she may have a greater edge on her feet. Once on the ground, I think both fighters are very skilled and I would not be surprised to see a submission come from either fighter. The oddsmakers disagree with my opinion, however, and have made Dern the heavy favorite in a submission outcome.

For DFS contests, I am a big fan of Jandiroba’s potential as an underdog at a much lower salary than Dern. I believe Dern should be favored, but only narrowly. I am very excited to see this fight as it promises to feature high level jiu-jitsu. On the ground, I believe these fighters are neck and neck. For this reason, I like Jandiroba in GPP contests for her submission potential at a salary well below average. Additionally, I like her as a cash play on Fanduel, not just for her win potential but for the submission friendly scoring on that platform. She will have a respectable floor at a cheap price on Fanduel where submission attempts are rewarded. Both fighters are worthy of some GPP exposure on both platforms, but the disparity in salary makes Jandiroba my preferred play on Saturday.

For more Fight Study, be sure to keep your eye on FantasyCruncher.com leading up to UFC 256 on December 12.


UFC 256: FIGHT #3, Jandiroba vs Dern

For Fight Study on UFC 256: FIGHT #2, Oliveira vs Ferguson, click HERE.

For Fight Study on UFC 256: FIGHT #4, Souza vs Holland, click HERE.

About Rob

Since getting out of the casino business, Rob has been playing DFS regularly with a focus on MMA and the NFL. He now lives in Denver, CO.

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