UFC 246 Preview – McGregor vs Cowboy

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UFC 246 will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on January 19 (AEDT) and is headlined by the return of the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor, taking on a UFC Stalwart in Cowboy Cerrone.

A one time Lightweight and Featherweight champion, McGregor returns to the Octagon for the first time since his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov back in October 2018.

Cowboy Cerrone has seemingly fought everyone on the UFC roster except McGregor and although he is coming off two losses, he is as hungry as ever to cash in on a long and storied career with a win.

For a reason that has been baffling to many, the fight will happen at Welterweight and we are set for a cracking five-round contest.

Also on the card is former Women’s Bantamweight champion Holly Holm who will be taking on Raquel Pennington with plenty more enticing fights as well.

We have previewed the entire Main Card and hopefully, we can steer you into a few winners.

UFC 246 Main Card

Sunday January 19 12PM AEDT

Main Event

Conor McGregor Vs Cowboy Cerrone

UFC Welterweight Fight

The biggest drawcard in the sport returns to the Octagon for the first time since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in Las Vegas in October 2018.

Conor McGregor rose to a level of stardom that was seldom considered a possibility by a Mixed Martial Artist. He broke new ground not only inside the Octagon but outside of it as well.

First, he grew his UFC record. Then, with expert marketing and his quick wit, he grew an empire. He soon had more money than he knew what to do with.

He is not the first fighter to lose sight of what is important when competing as a professional, and he won’t be the last.

The one-time tradesman has promised that he again found his roots and is back and ready to tear through the UFC once more. A statement that is a comfort to many UFC fan’s ears, and just words to many others.

If he was looking for a red carpet to be rolled out upon his return and an easy time inside the Octagon, he is not going to find it in the form of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.

Cowboy is the real deal. He holds UFC records for Most Wins, Most Finishes, Most Knockdowns as well as Most Bonuses (over $1.5 million USD).

Cerrone put his hand up to fight McGregor back in 2016, on short notice and directly after his loss to Rafael dos Anjos for the Lightweight strap; ultimately showing that he is not ducking the chance to face the Irish superstar.

Since that loss, Cowboy has gone on to fight an incredible 14 times. McGregor has fought four times.

It doesn’t take long to do the MMA Maths on this fight. McGregor has just four losses to his name and no one can argue the quality of opponents he has beaten.

Is he overrated? Almost certainly. McGregor and his team have been meticulous in their planning during his career. They have capitalized on every victory. Every press conference. Every contract negotiation.

Cowboy could not be any more of a polar opposite. Whether it be taking fights whilst injured, on short notice or against mismatched opponents. Cowboy and his team are simply down to brawl. Backing himself in any scenario and not always coming off the victor.

This is another fight the McGregor camp has gotten right, in my opinion. Stylistically he matches up perfectly with Cerrone and I believe he has found him at the right time.

In all four of his losses, he has been stopped via submission but I do not believe this will play a factor in this fight. Whilst Cowboy has an excellent ground game, Conor’s takedown defence and pace will negate this threat.

Octagon rust is a real thing however I’m predicting an early night.

Back Conor McGregor To Win By KO/TKO in Round 1 @ $6.00

Co-Main Event

Holly Holm Vs Raquel Pennington

UFC Women's Bantamweight

The Co-Main event of UFC 246 sees the number 3 ranked Women’s Bantamweight Holly Holm taking on the number 5 ranked Raquel Pennington.

Holm has just two wins from her last seven fights inside the Octagon whilst Pennington has lost two of her last three.

Make no mistake however, these ladies have been fighting only the best in the division for quite some time.

There is no doubt that Holly Holm will go down as one of the greatest women combat sports athletes of all time, having helped Women’s MMA rise to the juggernaut it is today.

Raquel Pennington has not won a UFC belt, but she also has done her time inside the Octagon and has wins over Jessica Andrade, Miesha Tate and Irene Aldana.

This isn’t the first time these two have met either. On debut inside the UFC promotion, Holm beat Pennington in a controversial split decision way back at UFC 184 in February 2015.

Holm has a height and reach advantage and she is so light on her feet, which will be needed with Pennington and her leg kicks.

All fighters come to the end at some stage and whilst I think Holly is coming to the end of a successful career, I still think she has the experience and ability to win a decision in this contest.

Back Holly Holm To Win By Decision @ $2.15

Main Card

Aleksei Oleinik Vs Maurice Greene

UFC Heavyweight

Incredibly, this will be 42-year-old Aleksei Oleinik’s 72nd career fight when he takes on 33-year-old Maurice Greene at UFC 246.

Oleinik had his first pro fight in November of 1996 In Ukraine and 45 of his 57 wins have been by submission. This is extremely rare in the Heavyweight division.

He was the first and only fighter to win a UFC fight by Ezekiel Choke; something he has now done twice inside the Octagon.

Maurice has had just the 11 fights in his professional career since debuting in 2012, however he has managed to win eight of them.

He was on a three-fight winning streak since making his UFC debut but that run was halted by Sergei Pavlovich in October last year.

Four of Greene’s eight wins have come via submission and this will be a very interesting fight should the two men end up on the canvas.

I personally think that is exactly what will happen and although I’m not sure which way the fight will go, I thought there was value in my recommended betting play nonetheless.

Back How Will The Fight End – Submission @ $2.60

Claudia Gadelha Vs Alex Grasso

UFC Women's Strawweight

Alex Grasso is the #11 ranked Women’s Strawweight contender and she will take on the #6 ranked Claudia Gadelha.

Grasso is coming off just one win from her last three fights which included a Round 1 submission loss to Suarez and a decision loss to Carla Esparza.

Claudia Gadelha has won two of her last three fights including wins over Randa Markos and Esparza.

The market is split on these two women. They are both $1.91 each and I am not the one that is going to give you the answers. I think the fight goes the distance however I am unsure of the winner.

Tip: No Bet

Anthony Pettis Vs Carlos Diego Ferreira

UFC Lightweight

In one of the more interesting fights on the card, Anthony Pettis returns to Lightweight to take on Carlos Deigo Ferreira to open the Main Card.

A former champion of the Lightweight division, Pettis has won just four of his last seven fights inside the Octagon however he has been fighting quality opponents at different weight classes.

His losses have come at the hands of Rafael dos Anjos, Eddie Alverez, Max Holloway, Dustin Poirier just to name a few.

he had an absolute brawl against Tony Ferguson and his corner had to throw in the towel after he broke his hand.

he then had a KO of the year contender for his Superman KO off the cage against Wonderboy Thompson at Welterweight before he lost a decision to Nate Diaz in August last year.

Diego Ferreira has managed 16 wins from his 18 professional fights including seven of his nine in the UFC promotion.

He had unanimous decision victories over Mairbek Taisumov and Rustam Khabilov in 2019 however this is clearly his toughest opponent to date.

I think the market has this one wrong with Anthony Pettis opening the $3.00 outsider for this fight. This is ridiculous odds for a guy as versatile as Showtime.

Although this is a tough fight to predict I simply have to go with the value.

Back Anthony Pettis To Win @ $3.00

Prelims

Roxanne Modafferi Vs Maycee Barber

UFC Women's Flyweight

Andre Fili Vs Sodiq Yusuff

UFC Featherweight

Drew Dober Vs Nasrat Haqparast

UFC Lightweight

Chas Skelly Vs Grant Dawson

UFC Featherweight

Early Prelims

Aleksa Camur Vs Justin Ledet

UFC Light Heavyweight

Tim Elliot Vs Askar Askarov

UFC Flyweight

Brian Kelleher Vs Ode Osbourne

UFC Bantamweight

Sabino Mazo Vs JJ Aldrich

UFC Women's Flyweight