Mackenzie Dern

At UFC 298 this weekend, Amanda Lemos and Mackenzie Dern square off in a highly anticipated strawweight bout.

Lemos, known for her striking power, aims to rebound from a loss to the champion, while Dern, a grappling specialist, seeks to leverage her ground game.

This clash of styles promises a compelling match-up between two top contenders and we’re here to break it all down for you with our analysis and prediction.

Betting Odds

Amanda Lemos is the slight favorite before this UFC 298 clash with Mackenzie Dern.

  • Amanda Lemos: -135
  • Mackenzie Dern: +105

Fight Breakdown

Amanda “Amandinha” Lemos, 36, got her shot at UFC gold but was broken down and dismantled by the strawweight champ- Zhang. Lemos is an exceptionally powerful, dynamic, and intimidating striker with unique fight-ending power on the feet.

Lemos is an all-offense striker, willing to take a shot land her own. This results in a negative strike differential with a sub-50 % striking defense. But, given the edge in power she has over most, if not all, of the division, Lemos can sacrifice the edge in stats and rely on raw power and aggression to win fights.

The other aspect of her game that has prevented her from consistently winning is her defensive wrestling and grappling. Lemos is a massive strawweight with long legs and above-average natural strength, all of which help her defend against takedown attempts early in fights. But, as the fight progresses and Lemos’ gas tank starts to empty, her takedown defense decreases along with it. Then, if the fight hits the mat, Lemos struggles to get back to her feet without putting herself in a compromising position, open for submission attacks.

Mackenzie Dern, 30, is the inverse of Lemos. Dern struggles on the feet and excels on the mat. While Dern’s striking has improved, namely the power in her right hand, she still struggles to match the pace, speed, and technique of fellow ranked straw weights.

Dern also has a negative strike differential and only lands at a 40% clip. Dern’s striking is not only largely ineffective, but it is also fairly basic. Dern throws naked calf kicks, followed up by an overhand right. Most ranked fighters are able to see her strikes coming and evade, block, or counter.

Dern, though, is not often trying to win a kickboxing match; instead, her goal is to create openings with her strikes to engage the clinch or wrestle her opponent down. Because she has a reliable chin- save her last knockout loss- Dern often walks through her opponent’s strikes, throws a big right hand to wobble her opponent or close distance, and then tries to get the fight to the mat. Her wrestling, though, has been inconsistent and she struggles when he is not the naturally larger and stronger woman.


This fight could go several ways. It could be one-way traffic where Lemos uses her size and clinch game to keep the fight standing and beat Dern up for 15 minutes. Lemos is also just as likely to end the fight with a massive power shot, wobbling or even dropping the ever-hittable Dern.

Conversely, Dern’s wrestling could have improved enough to get Lemos to the mat, a place where Dern should dominate. Even if it hits the mat, despite Dern’s BJJ prowess and Lemos’ struggles, a finish is just as likely as a lay-and-pray decision.

Given the multitude of ways this fight could go, I want to find +money for my bet. I like taking a small play on a massive long shot: Dern round 3 sub. The matchup is set up for the +1200 number to hit, even if it is unlikely.

Lemos is difficult to take down while she’s fresh and much easier to get down while tired. Meanwhile, Dern is hittable but tough, able to take shots throughout a fight. But her wrestling hasn’t proven reliable enough to get fighters down on her first, second, or even third attempt. Instead, Dern tends to drag tired opponents to the mat or create chaos where a clash in the clinch can end up on the canvas.

I think Lemos will likely piece Dern up in rounds 1 and 2, possibly to the point of gassing herself out. If that happens and Dern survives, a fatigued Lemos will be much easier to get down and much easier to finish. Meanwhile, Dern’s cardio has never been an issue; and, if she is down 2-0 entering the 3rd, will have to go all out for the finish or risk losing a decision.

Ultimately, a +1200 only has 7% implied probability of hitting. But, given the nuances in the stylistic matchup, I feel the chance Dern catches an arm late in the fight is better than 7%.

Best Bet: Dern to Win by Round 3 Sub (+1200)

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