Drake's Takes: UFC Fight Night Dern vs Rodriguez

Drake's Takes: UFC Fight Night Dern vs Rodriguez

This article is part of our Drake's Takes series.

Steve Garcia (11-4-0) v. Charlie Ontiveros (11-7-0)

- Garcia will be making his second UFC fight after a decision loss just over a year and a half ago. He is a high-volume striker with good pressure. He stalks forward with nice low kicks and a mean jab-hook combo. He has big power and attacks the head and body. His hands stay high, and he has good movement around the ring. The Jackson Wink MMA fighter does not often shoot for takedowns but is a great grappler. He will back fighters in the cage, clinch them up and then deal huge damage with elbows. If he does manage to get top control on the mat, he has massive ground and pound that almost surely ends the fight. 

-  Ontiveros returns for his second UFC fight after a disappointing finish loss in his debut. He is a patient striker, wanting to sit back and counter rather than pressure forward or blitz. He fights with his hands low and his feet planted, making him very hittable. He will counter with a nice hook and has great round kicks to the head. "The American Badboy" does not offer a whole lot on the mat. He is easy to takedown and control on the defensive end and does not go for takedowns or look to wrestle offensively. He does have a nice guillotine if he can lock on to it.

DFS Perspective:  I have no confidence in Ontiveros. He fights slow, has terrible defense and has been knocked out in all seven of his losses. Garcia is going to be pushing a fast pace and landing more, and likely ends up with a knockout win here. An early knockout for either guy is going to score well for DFS. 

My Pick:  Garcia

Lupita Godinez (5-1-0) v. Silvana Juarez (10-2-0)

- Godinez took a tough, split-decision loss in her debut and now makes her second fight against a debuting fighter. She is high-volume, aggressive and very quick. She cuts the cage off well and has excellent footwork. She has a big left hook and will mix her combinations up with those hooks, jabs and crosses. The past LFA Strawweight champion also features a great ground game. When she struggles to work into the pocket, she will clinch up and force her way in.  She will also shoot for single and double-leg takedowns and work control on the mat. 

-  Juarez is getting her shot, making her debut at 36, and looks to have big power. She is a great striker with fast hands and excellent footwork. She has a solid jab with a nasty overhand right and cuts off the ring well. The native Argentinean has a decent ground game. She works well in the clinch with powerful knees. She does not shoot often but defends takedowns well and can scramble back up from her back. She can reverse and find armbars and has deadly hammerfists in top control. 

DFS Perspective:  I am unsure how this fight will go. Both are high volume and would score well in a decision win. I do think Juarez is live for a big knockout. Her pricing is not set as of right now, but I think she will be priced low enough that a knockout win would break the slate. 

My Pick:  Juarez

Charles  Rosa (14-5-0) v. Damon Jackson (18-4-1, 1NC)

- Rosa continued alternating wins and losses after his split decision win last June. He strikes at distance, mixing in combos with a multitude of kicks to every part of the body. He has good footwork and changes stances to keep his opponent off balance. He can get sloppy at times, leaving himself susceptible to big hits. The American Top Team product has shown that he does not have the best grappling, or wrestling and is taken down rather easily. He does have a good scrambling ability to get back up and is able to shoot for takedowns himself.

-  Jackson is 1-1 since making his return to the UFC scene and looks to add another win to his submission resume. He is a decent striker with good footwork. He slowly pressures forward with his hands up and will mix in jabs with dangerous kicks. "The Leech" out of Fortis MMA is elite when it comes to getting the fight to the mat and locking in a submission. He will clinch or level change and then immediately body lock or shoot for single and double legs. He will also catch kicks and drop them to the mat. Once on the mat, it is extremely difficult to get away from him. There are not many better than him at finding a choke and ending it early.

DFS Perspective:  Rosa could be in serious trouble here if he has not worked on his takedowns or cannot get one first. Both guys are great on the mat, but the advantage surely lies with Jackson. I do not see this fight staying on the feet or lasting for three rounds. The winner is going to score well here in a decision and would crush value with a finish. 

My Pick:  Jackson

Alexander Romanov (14-0-0) v. Jared Vanderaa (12-5-0)

- Romanov kept his undefeated record intact with a tough split-decision victory last time out. He is an electric fighter with big power, fast hands and amazing movement. He pushes an incredible pace and immediately rushes forward with huge kicks, looking to back fighters into the clinch or catch them off balance for a takedown. "King Kong" is an aggressive wrestler with massive strength. He looks to overwhelm fighters from the start and will shoot for single and doubles, or bully with a body lock. On the mat, he uses his strength to control and pushes to dominate on top. His ground and pound are deadly, and he can get chokes with the best of them.

-  Vanderaa came out on top with a huge upset win to even his record at 1-1 in the UFC in his last fight and looks for another big win as a dog here. He works from range with big power and catches fighters as they close in on him. He has a nice jab and throws a lot of hard low kicks. He tends to stand still in front of fighters, making it easy to hit him or take him down. "The Mountain" has great grappling and is mean in the clinch. He can mix in body lock takedowns, and once he is on top, he is a major problem with ground and pound.

DFS Perspective:  If Vanderaa wants to find success in this fight, he needs to keep on the feet. That will be no easy task against Romanov. Romanov will likely be able to get Vanderaa down early and could end the fight just as quick. He does tire in the latter rounds, and if it gets to that point, Vanderaa could capitalize.

My Pick:  Romanov

Chris Gutierrez (16-3-2) v. Felipe Colares (10-2-0)

- Gutierrez comes in after a short-notice, decision victory and has yet to lose during his UFC stint. He is a solid counter striker and very technical, especially on the defensive end. He has a great jab-cross and mixes in excellent round and oblique kicks. He will also mix in a hard left hook when stepping out of the pocket. He throws a lot of feints and is terrific at keeping fighters off balance. The Texas-born fighter sports average grappling and does not offer much in the way of wrestling. He it tough in the clinch and will throw deadly knees to the body. He does not shoot for takedowns often and has good scrambling when taken down himself. 

-  Colares has alternated wins since entering the UFC and took a unanimous decision victory in his last fight. He is a decent striker with a lot of forward pressure. He works himself into the pocket and tends to just brawl to find a takedown. He holds his chin high and hands low, making him hittable. The native Brazilian thrives on the mat and does most of his damage there. He is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and loves hunting for the submission. He can snag body locks and shoots for double legs very well. He also features an extremely nice guillotine. 

DFS Perspective:  Gutierrez has the advantage on the feet, and Colares has the advantage on the mat. Gutierrez does have good takedown defense, but Colares is relentless and seems to have unlimited cardio. If Gutierrez wants to win, he needs to keep it on the feet and either knock him out or get more volume. Colares can chain takedowns and is great at getting submissions. Gutierrez tends to score low in decision wins so, for me, the value is with the dog here. 

My Pick:  Gutierrez

Phil Hawes (11-2-0) v. Deron Winn (7-2-0)

- Hawes continues to impress with his third UFC win in as many fights. He is a beast of a fighter and is always composed. He throws a nice jab and heavy calf kicks to cut down fighters early. He throws a huge left-hook-to-overhand-right combo and is deadly in the pocket. He has good head movement and is adept at avoiding big shots. The Sanford MMA fighter is a fantastic wrestler and has excellent takedowns. He is very strong, and once he has ahold of fighters, it is difficult to get away. He can keep control on the mat, pass guard, dominate with ground-and-pound or hunt for submissions. 

-  Winn asserted himself last time out against Antonio Arroyo, racking up twelve takedowns to even his record to 2-2 in the UFC. He is not much of a striker and just bull rushes into his opponent, looking to wrestle. He does have nice kicks and a quick jab, but everything he does leads to takedowns and getting the fight to the mat. The fighter out of American Kickboxing Academy flourishes on the mat with his wrestling. He will chain takedowns and look to control the round. He has decent ground and pound in top control but does not offer much for submissions.

DFS Perspective:  This will be a difficult matchup for Winn and the only way he wins this is through a lucky submission. Hawes has a huge size advantage and should be better anywhere this goes. Hawes likely ends this early somewhere in the first or second round nailing value.

My Pick:  Hawes

Sabina Mazo (9-2-0) v. Mariya Agapova (9-1-0)

- Mazo was massively disappointing in a loss as a huge favorite last time out and needs to right the ship quickly. She is an aggressive Muay Thai Striker with great body blows and kicks. She will throw a lot of jabs and crosses followed by nasty head kicks or round kicks to the legs and body. The "Columbian Queen" showed last time out she needs a lot of work when it comes to fighting on the mat. She can shoot for takedowns and be successful but is unable to make anything of it when she gets it. She also struggles getting off her back and needs to work on her scrambling.

-  Agapova gets her annual fight and often leaves a lot to be desired, struggling to her 1-1 record so far. She is a decent striker who applies pressure with good movement. She will lunge forward with a huge over hand and follow it up with a plethora of jabs and hooks. She has a slick jab but is often wild, making her hittable or easy to takedown. Now training at MMA Masters, Agapova looks to put her improved ground game to the test. She has improved takedowns and controls well for as long as her gas tank lasts. She tends to gas herself out working for a finish.  

DFS Perspective:  This is a curious fight. Mazo was dominated in her last fight unable to get up from her back. She needs to keep this on the feet and work her volume. Agapova got knocked out in her last fight after exhausting herself going for a finish. She now trains at MMA Masters and has been working on her cardio and ground game since she recovered from surgery. Mazo is the favorite, she should win, but something tells me the improvements from Agapova are going to make this difficult for her. 

My Pick:  Agapova

Tim Elliott (18-11-1) v. Matheus Nicolau (16-3-1)

- Elliott had his back up against the wall with three consecutive losses and has now won two-straight decisions. He has improved his striking from those three losses and has started mixing more kicks. He is all pressure, all the time, and does not let off the gas until he empties it. He will brawl and change levels to get his takedowns and the fight where he wants it. Since the move to Glory MMA, Elliot has really taken himself up a notch. His cardio has improved, and he's adding in kicks to change level more often and allow better takedown attempts. On the mat, he keeps control and continually looks to end it early with a submission.

-  Nicolau now sports a great 4-1 record in the UFC after a huge upset win against Manel Kape back in March after being away for over two years. He is a technical kickboxer with great defense and distance control. He looks to pressure early with a slick jab and nice low kicks. He will feint and bait fighters in to pull counter with huge uppercuts or overhands. The Brazilian has some strong grappling chops and is quick to snag takedowns given the opportunity. He will attack with submission attempts if they are there but prefers to get the fight back to his feet and control his surroundings.

DFS Perspective:  Early on, Elliot likely controls this fight a little bit with chaining takedowns together, and from there it entirely depends on his cardio. If it holds, he can continue chaining and controlling or eventually find a submission and destroy value. Nicolau needs to avoid getting caught in those chains and keep the fight upright, and he would dominate the striking department. Without a finish, I am not sure he scores well enough to hit value. 

My Pick:  Elliott

Randy Brown (13-4-0) v. Jared Gooden (18-6-0)

- Brown got himself back in the win column with a big first-round submission victory last time out. He is a solid technical striker with great power and movement. He initiates good pressure and cuts the cage off well with his fast hands and hard kicks. He also has great distance control and baits in strikes to unleash a huge counter. "Rude Boy" has good grappling and is strong in the clinch. He will attack with deadly elbows or look to trip or get a body lock. He does not attempt many takedowns but they are often successful when he does. He can keep control, dominate with ground-and-pound or hunt for a choke.

-  Gooden is an exciting boxer and struck gold in his first win with the promotion with a massive first-round knockout. He throws a nice jab coupled with strong kicks to the body. He will throw multiple kicks in a row and then a deadly hook. He likes to dart in and out, throwing looping overhands and heavy knees. He tends to get wild and keep his hands low, making him hittable. "Nitetrain" does have a decent ground game and will take down when he begins getting tired or if he catches a fighter off balance. His ground and pound in top control can be fight ending, and he will hunt for a choke if he cannot get on top.

DFS Perspective:  This is a tricky matchup. I would love to say Gooden is going to have another slate-breaking, early knockout win, but against an experienced veteran, it becomes much more difficult. Gooden will likely throw more volume and could end it at any time. Brown is more technical, will time his shots and potentially make the most of the shots he does throw. I think Brown likely needs a finish to win here but would smash value if he were to. Gooden should score well in any winning scenario. 

My Pick:  Brown

Mackenzie Dern (11-1-0) v. Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2)

- Dern could very well have the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the division, if not all of women's UFC, and is on a dominant four-fight win steak because of it. Her striking is improving every fight. She has developed a great jab and will throw a cross or hook behind it. She has strong low kicks and excellent ring control that allows her to change levels with ease. The BJJ blackbelt out of Black House MMA has one of, if not the, best submission games in the UFC. Her takedowns are improving, and once she is on the mat, it is nearly game over. She gets control, maintains it and just works her way to a choke or a bar.

-  Rodriguez is coming off a huge main-event win back in May and is now riding a two-fight win streak into this main event. She is a phenomenal volume striker and has some power behind it. She has fast hands, excellent movement and great ring control. She will pressure forward, walking fighters down with constant combinations of jabs, crosses, hooks and overhands. The Brazilian fighting out of Thai Brasil has improved her takedown defense and her work on the ground. She seldom attempts takedowns and generally does not have the wrestling to keep control for long. Her scrambling when taken down has gotten better, but it is still a work in progress.

DFS Perspective:  I love this main event. Anyone who knows me knows I am a HUGE Dern fan and believer. Dern has been dominant and improving in every fight since her loss in October of 2019. Her striking now compliments her game very well. She still needs work on takedowns, but all it takes is one for her to end it early. Rodriguez will be far and away better on the feet here, but keeping it there will be an issue in a five-round fight. If she manages to, she will piece Dern up with volume and potentially end her with a knockout. I do not think she will be able to prevent that given her past few fights (even the fight where she knocked out Ribas, she was dominated round 1). Dern gets another early submission, nails value and is that much closer a shot at the champ.

My Pick:  Dern


Moves Scoring
Significant Strikes = 0.6pts
Takedown = 6pts
Takedown Defense = 3pts
Knockdown = 12pts
Submission Attempt = 5pts

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win = 100pts
2nd Round Win = 75pts
3rd Round Win = 50pts
4th Round Win = 35 pts
5th Round Win = 25pts
Decision Win = 20pts

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are "Distance Strike" or "Clinch/Ground Strikes" that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • A knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider a substantial amount of time.


Moves Scoring
Strikes: +0.2 PTS
Significant Strikes (SS): +0.5 PTS
Control Time: +0.03 PTS/SECOND
Takedown (TD): +5 PTS
Reversal/Sweep (REV): +5 PTS
Knockdown (KD): +10 PTS

Fight Conclusion Bonuses
1st Round Win (1rW+): +90 PTS
2nd Round Win (2rW+): +70 PTS
3rd Round Win (3rW+): +45 PTS
4th Round Win (4rW+): +40 PTS
5th Round Win (5rW+): +40 PTS
Decision Win (WBD+): +30 PTS
Quick Win Bonus: +25 PTS
(fight is finished in 60 seconds or less)

Scoring Notes

  • Significant Strikes are any Distance Strike or Clinch/Ground Strikes that are considered "Power Strikes" by official scorers.
  • A Significant Strike will count as both a strike and a significant strike and will be worth a total of 0.4 Pts
  • Control Time is the time spent in the dominant position on the ground or in the clinch. +0.03 points are awarded per second.
  • A Knockdown is awarded to a fighter who knocks his/her opponent down due to debilitation for what the official scorers consider an appreciable amount of time.
  • A Quick Win Bonus is awarded to the winning fighter if they win in the first round in 60 seconds or less.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Drake Burden plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: Dburdz, DraftKings: Dburdz.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MMA Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MMA fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
Drake Burden
Drake is a proven DFS winner with multiple four-figure paydays under his belt. He took an interest to writing MMA during the pandemic and is active in various Discords and other social media communities.
UFC Vegas 79 Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup
UFC Vegas 79 Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup
Drake's Takes: UFC Vegas 79 Fiziev vs. Gamrot
Drake's Takes: UFC Vegas 79 Fiziev vs. Gamrot
UFC Vegas 79 Best Bets: Picks, Odds, and Predictions
UFC Vegas 79 Best Bets: Picks, Odds, and Predictions
DraftKings MMA: UFC Vegas 79 DFS Preview
DraftKings MMA: UFC Vegas 79 DFS Preview
Noche UFC Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup
Noche UFC Preview and Predictions: The MMA Mashup
Drake's Takes: Noche UFC Grasso vs. Shevchenko
Drake's Takes: Noche UFC Grasso vs. Shevchenko