The 52-week season rolls on with another UFC fight card on deck this Saturday. Though this card is getting labeled lackluster by critics on social media, we actually do have some decent scraps on tap, headlined by two of the world’s best female strawweight contenders.
With Rose Namajunas scheduled to defend her UFC Strawweight title against former champ Weili Zhang in November, this week’s headliners No. 4 Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) and No. 6 Mackenzie Dern (11-1-0), will look to make their case for next shot at the strap.
Prior to the main event, the card will have nine other bouts, made up mostly of prospects looking to earn ranking status and—maybe one of those big performance bonuses by night’s end. The card kicks off earlier this Saturday, with prelims firing up at 1:30 p.m. ET, followed by the main card at 4 p.m. ET.
- DATE: Saturday, October 9
- BROADCAST: ESPN+
- VENUE: UFC APEX
- LOCATION: Las Vegas, Nevada
- MATCHES: 10
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MAIN CARD HOT TAKES, PREDICTIONS & BETS
WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT (115 LBS): No. 4 Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) vs. No. 6 Mackenzie Dern (11-1-0)
The ol’ striker vs. grappler matchup has all the makings of a great chess match which probably won’t go the distance. Mackenzie Dern is riding a four-fight win streak and has looked much improved on her feet since losing for the first time back in 2019. The former BJJ world champion is one of the best on the mat, and is coming off of a first-round submission against Nina Nunes, a fighter who had not lost by submission in 10 years. Dern does have power in her hands and a respectable chin, and is willing to trade while on the feet, but if this one goes to the mat, it’s Dern’s world. Marina Rodriguez has also been on a little roll, winning her last two fights in dominant fashion and staking claim that she should be in discussions for title talk soon. Rodriguez is 5-1-2 under the UFC banner, though her two draws and loss come against decent grapplers.
Dern might trade on the feet early against the Muay Thai specialist, but she’ll want to eventually take this fight to the mat. As long as Rodriguez can keep standing, it's in her wheelhouse and the fight goes in her favor. With 25 minutes to work in this fight, along with the APEX housing the small-sized octagon, I see Dern eventually getting this one to the mat where she’ll go to work. Rodriguez has shown in the past she struggles with the grappling, and considering her loss and two draws against others who favor the grappling side of MMA, Dern will be her toughest test without a doubt.
Prediction: Mackenzie Dern
Bet: Dern -160 (look via SUB +100)
WELTERWEIGHT (170 LBS): Randy Brown (13-4-0) vs. Jared Gooden (18-6-0)
Gooden getting the quick call to co-main event status even on this type of card is a little win for the prospect. He looked solid in his last fight against Niklas Stolze, where he finished him in just over a minute via KO. This fight against Randy Brown should pose more challenges. Brown has a slight height advantage and his speed and ability to mix up some offense will keep Gooden guessing. I expect Brown to add in some leg kicks and and to be more technically sound overall than Gooden. It would be a huge win for Gooden if he could somehow win this fight.
Prediction: Randy Brown
Bet: Brown/Gooden OVER 1.5 rounds -162
FLYWEIGHT (125 LBS): No. 9 Tim Elliott (18-11-1) vs. No. 11 Matheus Nicolau (16-3-1)
Nicolau really impressed in his last outing over a very tough Manel Kape, snagging a split decision in a fight where he was positioned as the underdog. Elliott is riding a two-fight win streak and looked solid in his last bout where he mauled Jordan Espinosa across three rounds. In this matchup I think the younger fighter Nicolau will have the edge on his feet, and the moment Elliott goes for the takedowns, Nicolau will find success. Nicolau does have some slick submissions as well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him counterattack with some chokes.
Prediction: Matheus Nicolau
WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT (125 LBS): Mariya Agapova (9-2-0) vs. Sabina Mazo (9-2-0)
Agapova is back after a huge letdown against Shana Dobson, where she gassed and eventually lost via TKO in the second round as a -1600 favorite. Agapova has disclosed she had some personal distractions coming into that fight which impacted her performance. She dominated the first round of that fight, similar to her bout against Hannah Cifers, but had nothing left entering the second. Agapova should have a visible advantage with her feet against Mazo. She’ll have some great movement and speed, and has shown an ability to get in and out, scoring along the way. This, coupled with the fact that Mazo is usually a slow starter, will probably have Mazo looking to rally late. I see Mazo on the counter or defense most of this fight. I’m going back to the well with Mariya Agapova and I love the price tag.
Prediction: Mariya Agapova
Bet: Agapova +145
MIDDLEWEIGHT (185 LBS): Phil Hawes (11-2-0) vs. Deron Winn (7-2-0)
I’ve seen a few folks all in on Winn and I just can't do it. Winn’s takedown efforts will come into play and if Hawes can defend, he should be the better of the two on their feet. He’s a much more accurate striker and will have a massive seven-inch reach advantage. Winn has stated he’s looking to stand and trade, but we will see about that. No play for me, but I just can’t back Winn in this spot, who’s going to be a popular underdog play betting and fantasy wise. Not for me though.
Prediction: Phil Hawes
- CHRIS GUTIERREZ defeats FELIPE COLARES
- ALEXANDER ROMANOV defeats JARED VANDERAA
- CHARLES ROSA defeats DAMON JACKSON
- LUPITA GODINEZ defeats SILVANA GOMEZ
- STEVE GARCIA defeats CHARLIE ONTIVEROS
- Dern -160 (look via SUB +100)
- Brown/Gooden OVER 1.5 rounds -162
- Agapova +145
- Gutierrez by DEC +100
- Romanov by SUB +145
- Ontiveros/Garcia UNDER 2.5 rounds -164
Two-team: Romanov/Nicolau -139
Add third leg: Hawes +128
Add fourth leg: Dern +263
UFC PREDICTION & WAGER RECORD
2021 predictions: 215-139-7 (61%)
2021 wagers: 111-92-2 (55%)
Predictions: 596-338-18 (64%)
Wagers: 321-179-8 (64%)
Good luck everyone and I hope to see some of you cashing after Saturday night!
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