Conor McGregor v Donald Cerrone – UFC 246 Betting Preview and Prediction
The main event at UFC 246, which is set to kick off on Sunday, January 19, at T-Mobile Arena, will feature Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone who will duke it out in the Octagon in what will be a must-watch fight for any MMA fan.
The Notorious one is back!
The Sunday’s bout will mark the return of McGregor whose last fight took place in October 2018, when he famously lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov. The loss was also his only MMA fight since he became the first-ever simultaneous two-division champion back in 2016 when he defeated Eddie Alvarez.
We haven’t seen much of McGregor in last 15 months, besides his appearances in the media due to controversies outside of the Octagon, however, we can be sure his return to the scene will bump up the viewership numbers, which in all fairness, is always the case when McGregor is featured as the main fight.
McGregor will enter this fight with a 21-4-0 record to his name, which is an impressive record to hold, but perhaps, what is even more impressive is that 18 out of those 21 wins came by a KO, while two came via submission and one via a decision.
Suffice to say, McGregor has the knockout strength but can be very susceptible to a submission, considering his last two losses came via submission – against Diaz and Nurmagomedov. That might be slightly worrying, seeing how Cerrone won 17 out of his 36 fights by via submission and it’s fair to expect the “Cowboy” will look to make it 18 next weekend.
The Cowboy looking to impress
The fan-favorite and UFC title holder for the most finishes, most wins, most knockouts and tied-most bouts in the UFC – Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has been assigned as the man to welcome McGregor back into the Octagon and produce a spectacle.
Seeing how the Cowboy will be fighting a welterweight should give him a slight advantage, however, we can’t ignore the fact he is coming off two beatings when he lost to Tony Ferguson via TKO and a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje back in September. Besides his two losses last year, Cerrone defeated Al Iaquinta via decision and Alexander Hernandez via TKO/KO in May and January respectively.
Cerrone will enter this bout with a 36-13-0 record. Out of 36 wins, 10 came via KOs, 17 via submission and nine via decision, which as mentioned above does make him very dangerous for McGregor, who has lost his last two bouts via submission. That said, getting the Irishman on the ground might prove to be a difficult task for the Cowboy, considering McGregors’ wrestling has significantly improved, at least he gave that impression in his last fight against Nurmagomedov.
Cerrone holds an advantage over McGregor in the grappling department, with a 1.2 takedown average, 36% takedown accuracy, 73% takedown defense and 1.3 submission average. That being said, McGregor’s numbers are not far behind, seeing how he boasts with 0.8 takedown average, 62% takedown accuracy and 70% takedown defense.
On the other side, McGregor has significantly higher numbers in the striking department. The Irish champion on average lands 5.3 strikers/minute, has 48% accuracy and 55% defense rating, while Cerrone lands 4.3 strikers/minute, has 46% accuracy and 53% defense rating.
Verdict & Prediction
This one is bound to be an exciting fight, between two fighters each with their own unique style and technique. As stated, Cerrone is a far better grappler, while McGregor is a better striker.
This will be a great opportunity for Cerrone to cash in big, yet we have our doubts about whether he has the drive to give his all and win. The Cowboy is entering this fight following two defeats, which is why we can’t expect his morale to be too high. McGregor on the other side will be motivated and hungry for a win, especially considering this is his return to the Octagon after over a year. That being said, we believe you can never count out the Cowboy, who is not only very experienced but also a very skilled fighter, who should give the Notorious a run for his money.
As we see it, Cerrone will have to take over the tempo of the fight early and prevent McGregor from getting into his comfort zone. Cerrone’s best chance of winning here is to take down McGregor, which might be easier said than done, but not entirely impossible.
While we must praise McGregor and his achievements, we can’t ignore the fact he has not fought in 16 months, which won’t do him any good. Another thing worth noting here is that we can’t expect McGregor’s fitness to be up to par, which is a serious concern, considering he has been struggling with endurance before, while Cerrone is known to have very good stamina.
Bookmakers seem to agree McGregor is the favorite to win, which is fair, but we don’t believe the high odds on the American fighter are justifiable. Cerrone winning might be seen as an upset, but with those odds, we simply can’t pass on the opportunity to back the underdog here.
Prediction: Donald Cerrone to win
Odds: 3.51 Pinnacle