It's Science: Mackenzie Dern


It’s Science: Mackenzie Dern

Full study (including all the stats and info from the study) will be available in the next issue of Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine
Notable Study Stats:

  • +53% submission percentage (73% in wins)
  • 38% of submissions were footlocks
  • Scored first in 8/11 wins
  • Winning percentage of 72%
  • 42% of sweeps occurred from spider guard
  • Standing passes accounted for 50% of passes
  • Average match length was only 4:48 minutes
  • Had a 14/11 “sweep/pass ratio”

All matches observed of Mackenzie Dern, used in this small sample occurred at IBJJF events, inside her weight division, and in the years 2013-2015. Only techniques, occurrences, and outcomes that were recorded are displayed in the data below (i.e. if no butterfly sweeps occurred, there will not be a representation of that in the sample data charts). Matches were selected at random based on freely available matches. This is a limited sample – but given the estimated amount of matches in this time period – it is well above the percentage necessary to create a scientifically validated trend sampling.
The Breakdown:
Given some of the recent uproar created by Metamoris front man, Ralek Gracie, I decided it was a perfect time to release our first competitor study of a female athlete. While there are certainly a long list of qualified females to choose from. You would be hard pressed to find a more popular and more aggressive female competitor on the scene today. Dern has quickly burst in to the black belt division after a storied career at the lower belt levels. She has yet to win a black belt world title, but has collected several at lower belt levels. So what has made Mackenzie so successful?
Mackenzie boasts a very well-rounded game. When you look at her chart you quickly see that there is a lot of versatility in what see does. She finds way to win in multiple ways. However, there are several things she does exceptionally well. Her aggressive style lends itself very well to submissions. She has one of our highest submissions rates currently recorded in these studies (above 53%). Her submission of choice was the foot lock; which accounted for 38% of her total submissions. She collected more leg locks than any other competitors that we have studied.
This aggressiveness also leads her to scoring first in 72% of her winning matches. This also has exposed her to some risk. Her winning percentage in the study was similarly around 73%. Nevertheless, she makes matches exciting. Her average match length was only 4:48! One of the shortest average match lengths we’ve ever recorded.
Mackenzie’s game did largely revolve around her guard game in the study; which she would often use to sweep her opponents from spider guard. This spider guard also led to several triangle and armbar submissions. Once on top, Mackenzie used several classic Grace Humaita style techniques to pass; consisting of knee over and knee through styles of passes; although the leg drag was largely incorporated as well. Perhaps, this is something she has gleaned from fiancé Augusto Mendes? Either way, her sweep to pass ratio was 14/10 (sweep/pass). This was a very strong balance that led to a wide variety of submissions with footlocks making up the majority.
Ultimately, the talking point that inspired this initial female study has proven to be largely incorrect. In fact, Mackenzie may turn this idea of women not being exciting on its head. She boasts one of the highest submission percentages that we’ve recorded and has an average match length much lower than we’ve seen so far. While women remain a minority in the jiu jitsu population, the rise of young fierce competitors like Mackenzie should continue to inspire more women to get involved and newer jiu jitsu enthusiasts to pay more attention to the exciting action occurring in the womens black belt divisions.

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