* The expectation is high for the fight between Mackenzie Dern and Virna Jandiroba, next Saturday (13th), in Las Vegas (USA), at UFC 256. Coming from a Jiu-Jitsu background, both athlete made the transition to MMA at different times, but they still have it as their specialty. In addition to this being a long-awaited clash between the top fighters of the grappling world, the confrontation gains even greater importance because both are currently in the Top 15 for strawweight division. Whoever wins should become part of the Top 10 and closer to the much sought after title challenge.
32 years old and a record of 16 victories and one loss in professional MMA, Virna is a former Invicta FC strawweight champion and currently has two consecutive victories for the UFC, she does not hide her dream of also winning the 52kg belt, this time for the largest MMA promotion in the world. Aware of the great challenge she will be facing, Virna stated what she expects from the fight against Mackenzie, who has also won her last two fights in for the promotion.
“We are two very dangerous fighters, looking for the finish, so it will be a very tense fight (laughs), and I think that it will be won with intelligence, with strategy, this is the way. Although we come from a Jiu-Jitsu background, we have a slightly different style. Mackenzie has a looser game, works very well from the guard, while I have a tighter game, with form of conservative pressure. We will put these styles in play on Saturday, and we will see what happens (laughs) ”, said the Brazilian.
See the full interview with Virna Jandiroba:
– Preparation for the fight against Mackenzie Dern
It was a very special camp, because thanks to the bonus I received in my last fight, we were able to have a more complete, more professional preparation. We managed to bring in some girls to Bahia (state in Brazil) to train with us with the aim of increasing the quality of my training, we formed a team of very qualified professionals. It was an excellent camp, with everyone seeing the same goals and now it’s about putting everything into practice in the fight.
– You are both from Jiu-Jitsu. Because of that, do you believe that the fight will take place on the ground?
I don’t think the fight will be based entirely on Jiu-Jitsu. When it comes to MMA, things are different, there are several aspects that we need to deal with. But I believe that the ground fight comes naturally, because that’s the speciality of both Mackenzie and I, so it’s something automatic, it’s second nature to us. I believe there will be ground fighting, yes, it is something natural for us, but anything can happen in an MMA fight.
– Trajectory in Jiu-Jitsu before immigrating to MMA
I was practicing Judo, and I was invited to practice Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 15/16 and I fell in love and two months later I was competing. I competed a lot, with big names, like Bia Mesquita and other top female Jiu-Jitsu athletes. As I come from the interior of Bahia, I was unable to compete in events in the South and Southeast. I was only able to competed once, twice a year, but I competed quite a lot with a kimono. Jiu-Jitsu is a lifestyle, I usually use fighting as a metaphor for my fight, it is something that, in fact, is part of my life.
– Dream of becoming UFC strawweight champion
I never hid my ambition of being a UFC champion as well. Nowadays I think about taking it one step at a time, winning a fight, training hard, but that’s what is on my mind, to reach the Top 5 and challenge for a belt. It won’t get out of my head. But its important to be living in the now, the present, because we will get there at some stage.
– What do you expect from the fight against Mackenzie Dern?
We are two very dangerous fighters, looking for the finish, so it will be a very tense fight (laughs), and I think that it will be won with intelligence, with strategy, this is the way. Although we come from a Jiu-Jitsu background, we have a slightly different style. Mackenzie has a looser game, works very well from the guard, while I have a tighter game, with form of conservative pressure. We will put these styles in play on Saturday, and we will see what happens (laughs)
– Importance of the fight against Mackenzie in the plan to reach the Top 5
This fight is a game changer, first because it is against a well-known athlete and for being able to put me in an even more privileged position within the division, it is important to consolidate myself, so that they can begin to see me in the future as a contender to the strawweight belt.
– ‘Gratitude’ to the UFC and plans for 2021
2020 was an atypical year, but I am still very grateful, because it was a generous year for me and I am about to do my second fight, so I am happy for the effort the UFC has done to maintain events, even in the face of all this difficulties. In 2021, I hope that the scenario will be better and that I will be able to do camps abroad, without fear, it is very bad to live in fear. In 2021, I want to invest more in myself, come to the USA and spend more time here. I want to fight, fight hard, and get closer and closer to my goals.
UFC Apex in Las Vegas (USA)
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Flyweight: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno
Lightweight: Tony Ferguson vs. Charles of the Bronx
Lightweight: Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev
Middleweight: Kevin Holland vs. Ronaldo Jacaré
Heavyweight: Junior Cigano vs. Ciryl Gané
Featherweight: Cub Swanson vs. Daniel Pineda
Strawweight: Mackenzie Dern vs. Virna Jandiroba
Strawweight: Tecia Torres vs. Sam Hughes
Featherweight: Billy Quarantillo vs. Gavin Tucker
Heavyweight: Sergey Spivak vs. Jared Vanderaa
Welterweight: Li Jingliang vs Opponent to be defined
Featherweight: Chase Hooper vs. Peter Barrett
* By Mateus Machado