Fight to Watch: Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256

History will be made at UFC 256 when the flyweights take center stage. In one of the fastest turnaround title bouts in company history, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno are ready for war. The co-main event will also see the return of Tony Ferguson as he takes on rising contender Charles Oliveira.

What about the rest of the card?

There are plenty of matchups to entice you into buying the PPV, even if several have been scrapped before fight night. One fight on the main card features two rising strawweights in Mackenzie Dern and Virna Jandiroba. Both growing within the division, this bout could help determine the top star to challenge Zhang Weili for her title.

Coming off of the first leglock submission in women’s UFC history, Dern is on a two-fight win streak. The submission win against Hannah Cifers was a rebound following the multiple-time jiu-jitsu champion’s first-ever loss against Amanda Ribas in 2019. The 27-year-old is continuing to improve. In her next bout she was able to beat Randa Markos via submission, this time via armbar.

Ranked eleventh in the UFC’s strawweight rankings, Dern is looking to become the first female champion to give birth with the promotion. How does she see herself following a win against Jandiroba?

“My idea is definitely to show that I am top 10, top five material,” Dern told the UFC. “I’ve been working hard for that, especially after the pregnancy and I stayed one year off.”

Ranked thirteenth in the UFC’s strawweight rankings, Jandiroba is also on a two-fight win streak. After losing to Carla Esparza back in April 2019, Jandiroba beat both Mallory Martin and Felice Herrig via submission. The former Invicta FC strawweight champion told Cageside Press that she credits the lone loss of her career for maturing her in order to get focused on her goal of becoming UFC Strawweight Champion.

OddShark.com has Dern as the (-200) favorite against Jandiroba (+160), while BestFightOdds.com has all major lines going Dern’s way.

In her last two fights, Dern has landed 14 significant strikes compared to Jandiroba’s 11. They are about even on the ground strikes, but Jandiroba leads in advances. Jandiroba has thirteen wins via submission compared to Dern’s six. It is the latter’s experience inside the octagon, however, that could be in her favor.

With both of their skills ready to be put on display, both are ready for the ultimate spotlight. As far as a winner, that could all come down to who is faster as the fight turns to the ground. Could there be a few surprises along the way? One thing is for sure: Dana White will keep a close eye on this fight, as competition within the division continues to heat up.

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