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.


How To Evaluate Metamoris II

metamoris art II
By: Tyler Bishop
Metamoris has completed it’s second foray into premium jiu jitsu cards. There were some slight changes to the rules and procedures this time. Unfortunately, many of the results fell short of expectations.
On a positive note, the hype and fanfare prior to this event seemed significantly more intense than from the first installment of Metamoris. This is great news for jiu jitsu. Metamoris is great idea. It is a premium event that allows access to spectators all over the world, pays it’s competitors, and provides a first class experience for both.
On a negative note, there are always birthing pains with new and innovative ideas. While the idea of submission-only isn’t new – in fact it is an old idea – the implementation of a  Metamoris-style event is quite new. The drawbacks so far have been creating a tournament environment that is truly the most competitive, effective, and exciting format to watch. This seems to be the initial mission. To create a tournament that provides the best competitors with the optimum environment to showcase there talents and abilities. So far, the event is missing the mark – as many matches become as stalemated – and with no points to influence urgency the matches have tendency to become somewhat passive at times. I believe the judges were added this time to do just that; however, this seemed to have little effect on the competitors and actually seemed to just disenfranchise the audience a little bit.
Don’t kid yourself, the rules, setup, or coordination of an tournament will never be able to manufacture an exciting event. In an op-ed we wrote last year we discussed why the competitor is the sole one responsible for excitement. However, there is little debate here that things could improve to create a more optimal environment. So how should we evaluate this event looking back, and what should our expectations be for the future?

Here are three popular opinions we have seen since the the completion of the event…

  1. This style of event is the best, and it is only missing further incentives for the fighters to become more exciting.
    I have seen this opinion written a lot. It obviously is a very popular way to look at the event – knowing what we do now, and what we would like to see in the future. It makes sense too. As discussed above, the broadcast, professionalism, and organization is top-notch – and one can only assume it will get better. The only thing missing is a more exciting array of matches, right? I’m not so sure.
    Incenting fighters to perform one way or another seems like it could be the right way to go – and who knows maybe it is – but you have to consider what that actually does to the competition. At what point do you create an environment in which the competitive spirit has left? Paying fighters or penalizing them for being effective (whether on offense or defense) has a direct result on the fighters performance. You could essentially be incenting a fighter to not fight there best. That goes against the spirit of competition. Let me give you an example in a different context. If you were deer hunting and sat alone in the woods for days with no deer walking past you, at what point would you say that buying deer to stock in the woods is fair game? I would argue that it is never sporting to do this. You have manufactured a kill. While you can take the meat home to the dinner table, you can’t necessarily feel great about the process by which you have acquired said meat.So while I do appreciate this sentiment, and would realize the need for it’s institution, I would strongly hope we could explore all other avenues before jumping into this boat. If for no other reason to simply keep the event pure and sporting. One of the best things about the event is the lack of a true mediator in the process. By instituting penalties and rewards we insert an arbitrator that I’m not sure does the sport justice.
  2. Institute the Rickson Budo Challenge Rules.

    Now we are talking! I will conceal any bias that long time readers know I have towards this particular format. I have long-time been a fan of this scoring format, and am somewhat baffled as to why after a brief acceptance years ago this style of tournament disappeared. Much like Rickson himself, this style of tournament produced some fantastic fights and matches that will be remembered forever, and then simply left us wanting more.
    This type of tournament does have it’s downfall though. The point-based rewards for submission attempts over positions is wildly objective, and doesn’t always reward the most effective grapplers. It has a tendency to reward those who are most aggressive over those who are most technical. The affinity for this even likely comes from the old Rickson Budo Challenge events in which many of the matches produced a fever-pitch of excitement even when there was no submission. Adding rounds to the tournament format certainly could help break up the action, and allow fighters to re-evaluate their gameplans though. There is a lot to be considered here; however the amount of objectively in the scoring likely leaves this approach on the outside looking in.
    While the merits of this style of format are far and long-reaching it is likely not a great fit for the current promoters and their ideals. It would be a dramatic 180 from their current format, and would provide a level of objectivity that many audiences might not appreciate. Furthermore, it is possible that this style of tournament even flies in the face of what the promotors are attempting to produce (it’s hard to say). Ultimately, there are elements of this style of tournament that deserve some serious consideration, but it’s unlikely that we see this exact format at Metamoris anytime soon.
  3. The event is perfect…. more Schaub, MORE SCHAUB……MORE SCHAAAUUUBB!!!!!!!
    All jokes aside, is there a little birdy in the back of your mind that wonders if the boring defensive struggles of Ryron vs. Galvao, and  Cyborg vs. Schaub are secretly what the young Gracie brothers may have wanted from the Metmoris events? Almost in a rare tribute to Andy Kaufman, perhaps they are the only ones in on the joke.I know, it seems crazy right. Who wants to create a boring event that frustrates it’s audience? In all likelihood this sentiment is simply unfounded. However, the Gracie academy does espouse many of these defensive techniques, and spends a strong amount of time emphasizing defense over offense. It does seem possible that an agenda inside of these events is to showcase a personal point they wish to make as to the true merits of real jiu jitsu competition.Perhaps much of this is just as much about anti-competitive jiu jitsu as it is the ultimate showcase for jiu jitsu competition. It’s hard to say really, and you would have to have a strong affinity for conspiracy theories to believe it whole-heatedly. However, I can say one thing for sure. Whoever draws a grappler from the Gracie academy in the next event better be prepared for some serious defense, and a possible non-fight. This is two events in a row in which the most disenchanting match included a Gracie Academy fighter.

All in all, Metamoris is a revelation that needs to quickly continue to evolve. The addition of Royler Gracie vs Eddie Bravo to the next event will ensure record sales and attendance. It is up to the event to deliver what the fans want to see.