Check out this weeks UFC 246 tips and previews for all five main card fights, including the return of Conor McGregor against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
- McGregor 21-4-0 (18 by KO/TKO & 1 by submission)
- Cerrone 36-13-0 1nc (10 by KO/TKO & 17 by submission)
- McGregor def by Nurmagomedov – Rd 4 submission
- Cerrone def by Gaethje – Rd 1 TKO
Analysis: Conor McGregor… welcome back! It’s been a 15 month hiatus for the Notorious one following his one sided loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. Despite spending some time on the sidelines, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone looks to be the perfect comeback opponent. Cerrone is an exciting fan favourite and presents plenty of upside for McGregor, although this fight is not without its challenges.
While McGregor is the firm $1.35 favourite, Cerrone is no easy-beat. Cowboy will famously fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and as a result, has earned himself a place in the UFC record books. To date, he has the most wins and most finishes in UFC history which can’t happen unless you have plenty of weapons at your disposal. As an incredibly well rounded fighter, Cowboy has options, although the clear advantage lies on the ground.
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— UFC (@ufc) January 13, 2020
With 17 submissions to his name, you would expect Cowboy to try and finish the fight this way. We’ve seen it plenty of times before, a fighter will come forward looking to cause some damage and Cowboy shoots for a takedown where he can work for a submission. The only problem is, Cowboy’s thirst for a glorious knockout might be his undoing and this thirst is only good news for McGregor.
It’s no secret Conor has freakish knockout power in his left hand and as a result, expect him to be setting plenty of traps early. An interesting aspect of the fight should present itself if Conor can manage a knockdown. Cowboy is incredibly dangerous off his back and has found a number of finishes this way and this just adds a bit of extra intrigue into an already exciting fight.
If he can get back the timing and efficiency that made him the #1 pound for pound fighter, it’s likely he will find the finish. There is a lot to like about Conor in 2020, he looks determined to claw his way back to the top of the UFC and as a result, expect Conor to win via KO/TKO.
Special Market: Conor McGregor via KO/TKO in 12mins or less @ $2.00
- Holm 12-5-0 (8 by KO/TKO)
- Pennington 10-7-0 (1 by KO/TKO & 3 by submission)
- Holm def by Nunes – Rd 1 TKO
- Pennington def Aldana – Decision
Analysis: An exciting co-main see’s Raquel Pennington desperate to avenge her 2015 loss to Holly Holm at UFC 184. Their first fight ended in a decision victory to Holly Holm which resulted in THAT famous knockout against Ronda Rousey. While Holm hasn’t quite reached the heights many predicted, she has faced superior opposition to Pennington. With names like Tate, Nunes, Cyborg and Shevchenko on her record, Holmes’ experience will work in her favour.
In their first fight, Pennington relied on her superior grappling to get the job done, although it wasn’t to be. As a result of her disadvantage on the floor, Holm needed to show strong takedown defence and she did just that. While Pennington kept coming forward, Holm was able to keep her at length by connecting with a high volume of punches and kicks.
Almost five years on from their first fight, Holm and Pennington still rely heavily on their striking and grappling. I can’t see this going any different to the first fight as Holm seems to have all the necessary tools at her disposal.
- Oleinik 57-13-1 (8 by KO/TKO & 45 by submission)
- Green 8-3-0 (2 by KO/TKO & 4 by submission)
- Oleinik def by Harris – Rd 1 KO
- Green def by Pavlovich – Rd 1 TKO
Analysis: The younger Maurice Green will be facing off against his toughest challenge yet in veteran Aleksei Oleinik. Fresh off a loss to Sergey Pavlovich, Green will be doing everything he can to keep his older opponent at a distance and utilise his reach advantage.
Aptly named “The Boa Constrictor”, Aleksei Oleinik has an astonishing 45 submissions to his name. At 42 years of age, he certainly isn’t getting any more powerful and with only 8 of his 57 wins coming by way of knockout, Oleinik will try and squeeze the life out of Green.
Although it is an interesting test for both fighters, expect Green to find the finish in the later rounds.
- Gadelha 17-4-0 (2 by KO/TKO & 7 by submission)
- Grasso 11-3-0 (4 by KO/TKO)
- Gadelha def Marcos – Decision
- Grasso def by Esparza – Decision
Analysis: Gadelha and Grasso is shaping up to be an interesting match up considering what we have seen from both fighters in the past. In her previous bout, Grasso struggled to find an answer for Esparza’s ground game resulting in a loss via decision. On the other hand, Gadelha’s high level grappling makes this a great match up for her.
Although Gadelha has shown cardio problems, she certainly possesses the skills to get the job done. It’s likely her cardio has had an increased focus in camp and if it has, Grasso might be in for a rough night. If there is little to no improvement, Grasso’s game-plan should be pretty straight forward. Control the distance, defend the takedown and look for a finish as her opponent begins to fade.
While there isn’t much separating the pair, Grasso should be able to get the win.
- Pettis 22-9-0 (11 by KO/TKO & 7 by submission)
- Ferreira 16-2-0 (3 by KO/TKO & 6 by submission)
- Pettis def by Diaz – Decision
- Ferreira def Taisumov – Decision
Analysis: Anthony “Showtime” Pettis has proven himself a genuine fan favourite with freakish displays of athletic ability and everyone will be hoping to see more of the same. Who could forget his superman KO at Fight Night 148 or the matrix-like kick off the cage at UFC 164? Despite his freakish talent, Pettis has found himself sliding down the rankings after losses to big names such as Poirier, Ferguson and Nate Diaz.
NEVER. GETS. OLD.
— UFC (@ufc) January 13, 2020
Ferreira needs to look no further than Pettis’ last fight against Diaz. By now, we know Diaz’s game consists of relentless pressure and insane cardio. This violent concoction seemed to trouble Pettis who looked out of his depth in the later stages of the Diaz bout. The proof is in the pudding for Ferreira and if he’s able to keep coming forward and smother Pettis, he’s every chance of getting the win.