UFC women’s strawweight rivals Mackenzie Dern and Yang Xiaonan are looking to shake up the rankings when they go head-to-head at UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Saturday (7:00 pm ET on Sportzshala+, with preliminaries at 4:00 pm ET). time on Sportzshala+).

Sportzshala’s No. 6 Division Ranked Dern won a split decision over Tecia Torres in her last fight in April. Yan, who is in 5th place right behind Dern, has lost in a row in the last two fights.

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That same night, Bellator hosts Bellator 286 at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach. In the main event, Adam Borics will take on reigning featherweight champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Freire is #3 on Sportzshala’s featherweight rankings.

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Brett Okamoto spoke with Xtreme Couture mixed martial arts coach Eric Niksik for his take on the UFC main event matchup, while Sportzshala betting experts Ian Parker and Reed Koon added their insights and highlight analysis from both fight cards and other intriguing bets that they are like.

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Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.


Women’s Minimum Weight: Mackenzie Dern vs. Yang Xiaonan

Erik Niksik, Xtreme Couture mixed martial arts coach

How Dern wins: The obvious answer is to force Jan to lie on the floor and find submission. However, fighting there wasn’t always easy for Dern. Her punches have improved a lot under trainer Jason Parillo and pairing those punches with her wrestling will be very important in this fight. Changes to the level of feints in the sequences will make Jan respect a potential takedown that can slow down the outcome of Jan’s punch. This is where Dern can come into his own and perhaps land a takedown during a ride or even go as far as taking down a guard. Once he hits the mat, look for Dern to move forward and work to the end.

How Yang wins: Yang needs to lean heavily on footwork and angles so Dern can’t find those takedowns. In her combinations, she must use anti-wrestling strikes, that is, strikes in the middle line. This will keep Dern from leveling up for a takedown.

Equally important for Jan will be attacking Dern’s body, especially in a five-round fight. She needs to try wearing Dern’s cardio. These attacks also pair well with anti-wrestling strikes.

X – Factor: Yang went on to study at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. It’s a great way for Yang to improve her wrestling skills, but will it be enough to stop Dern from taking her down? Looking back at Yan’s loss to Carla Esparza, she did have a problem with grappling. If she hasn’t improved much in that area, it could be a quick night.

Forecast: Submission turf, third round

Rate Analysis

Parker: Ian for the win (+200). Dern will have a big lead on the ground if she can get it there, and that could be a tough task based on what we’ve seen in her last two fights. The plan for defeating Dern was laid out by Marina Rodriguez – keep the fight on your feet and get the fight back on your feet, even if you are dominant on the mat.

With almost a 2-1 underdog, I like Jan here. She will be an excellent striker and I believe she will be the physically stronger of the two. She had a hard time stopping Esparza’s takedowns, but to be honest, Esparza is a fantastic fighter and Dern doesn’t have the same record as her. I expect this fight to be similar to Rodriguez’s fight for Dern and if she can’t put him on the ground, I think Ian will put her down.

Kun: Dern will win (-230). Despite being a significant underdog, Jan has a clear advantage in punches. She maintains excellent accuracy while using a more aggressive tempo. Dern may still be improving her punches with every fight, but she’s unlikely to be able to win clean rounds without leveling up.

And this is where Dern’s foundation as an elite wrestler comes into play. Yang’s 65% takedown defense probably won’t last long. Once on the ground, Dern will have an advantage in experience, positioning, and submission threat. Dern needs to spend a lot of time on the mat, and with five rounds to go, she may find an opportunity for a submission at some point.


Best bets on the rest of the map

Welterweight: Randy Brown vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Kuhn: Randy Brown will win (-300). With a few worthy favorites on the map, finding reliable parlays should help make the game more accessible. Consider Brown in the co-main event – he will have several advantages over Trinaldo, who is one of the oldest fighters on the list.

Brown has great accuracy and defense, and an absurd eight-inch reach advantage. If he can control the distance, it could make Trinaldo chase and overexert himself. Meanwhile, Trinaldo does not pose an abnormally dangerous takedown threat as he has only fought once in three welterweight matches. Brown must be behind the wheel to unleash his amazing arsenal.

Light Heavyweight: Maxim Grishin vs Philip Lins

Kun: Lins will win (+135). Now, speaking in light heavyweight, Lins will fight with veteran Grishin. Lins seems to have sharper hands and both of them kick a lot of big men.

Exchanging big punches is a wild card, but if the fight comes to a stalemate, Lins will likely kick in and take control. Otherwise Lins represents some value plus money.

Catchweight: John Castaneda vs. Daniel Santos

Parker: Castaneda will win (-190). Santos is a dangerous fighter wherever the fight takes place, but I believe that Castaneda fought the best opponents. His last win over Miles Jones showed us that he can defend even against a high level wrestler. I think Castaneda avoids Santos’ early attack and eventually wears him out and wins.

Lightweight: Mike Davis vs. Vyacheslav Borshchev

Parker: Davis win (-175) Borshchev was heavily exposed in the fight with Mark Diakise. Diakese, known for his punch, set up a wrestling dispensary for three rounds with no answers from Borshchev. Davis is a great striker, but it would be foolish not to take the path of least resistance against his opponent – wrestling. Davis has talked about bringing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experts like Rodolfo Vieira into his camp, so I expect him to use ground play and Davis to dominate.

Heavyweight: Ilir Latifi Vs. Alexey Oleinik

Parker: Latifi wins (-175) Oleinik is coming back after defeating Jared Vanderaa by submission in a comeback, but I think his luck ends there. Latifi just defeated Tanner Bozer and I believe his wrestling and brute strength should be able to tame Oleinik’s submission attempts. Look for Latifi to take down Oleinik early on for a TKO victory.


Best bets on Bellator 286

Featherweight: Patricio Freire vs. Adam Borix

Parker: Freire will win (-150). I’m surprised the odds are so low that Freire isn’t a big favorite. I think he is more technical in everything and his experience in five rounds against higher level opponents should give him a significant advantage in this fight. If Borics doesn’t catch Freire with something wild like a knee strike, I expect Freire to defend his belt in a dominant manner.

Lightweight: AJ McKee vs. Spike Carlisle

Parker: McKee wins (-420) In his last fight, Carlisle almost finished but somehow managed to recover and finish off in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately for Carlisle, if McKee leaves him, I assure you there will be no return. McKee is a very smart fighter and he has a skill advantage here. He wouldn’t get drawn into a fight or let Carlisle dictate the pace of the fight. Going from the only loss of his career to being a champion, wait for McKee to bounce back and take the win.

Featherweight: Aaron Pico vs. Jeremy Kennedy

Parker: Pico wins (-575) Kennedy gets one of the best wins of his career by defeating Emmanuel Sanchez last December. He has another tough task ahead of him in Pico, the blue-chip avenue. For Pico, this is his biggest challenge to date, and a victory will give him the opportunity to start getting ranked opponents. He is a special athlete and I believe he will show it in this fight. As long as he’s not too concerned about the knockout attempt, he should be able to blend in with his fight and secure the win.