The UFC opens the year on January 18, 2020, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with the return of its biggest star.

“The Notorious” Conor McGregor returns from a long hiatus to take on veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The bout marks McGregor’s first UFC fight since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in 2018. McGregor became the first double-champion in UFC history when he annexed the UFC lightweight title by stopping Eddie Alvarez at UFC 204 in 2016. McGregor left the octagon to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a boxing match in 2017 before returning to fight Nurmagomedov the following year. Cerrone meanwhile is coming off a knockout loss to Justin Gaethje last September 2019. That loss came after he was stopped by Tony Ferguson at UFC 238. A one-time lightweight title challenger, Cerrone has lost six out of his last 10 bouts.

Here are the key fights of the UFC 246 main card:

“Fighting" Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone

Conor McGregor needs no introduction. The Notorious One is the first fighter to hold two UFC titles simultaneously and is the UFC’s top PPV draw. The Dublin native is 31-years old and stands 5-9 with a reach of 74 inches while fighting out of the southpaw stance. McGregor has a record of 21-4 with 18 wins by knockout. All four of McGregor’s losses have been by submission and aside from a weak ground game, his conditioning has been heavily criticized. McGregor has not fought since losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October 2018. His last win came at UFC 205 in 2016.

Donald Cerrone is one of the most popular fighters in the history of the UFC. Cowboy is the UFC’s all-time leader in wins (21), finishes (16) and post-fight bonuses (16). He once challenged for the UFC lightweight title but lost to Rafael Dos Anjos. The 36-year old from Denver, Colorado has a record of 36-14 with 10 knockouts and 17 wins by submission. He stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 73 inches and stands as an orthodox fighter. Cowboy is coming off back to back knockout losses to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. He is 4-6 in his last 10 bouts with four losses coming by way of knockout.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from as of 01/17/20

McGregor has one of the most powerful left hands in the UFC and if he lands clean, Cerrone is definitely going to sleep. I mean Cowboy is a tough guy but once he gets hit, especially in the body, he folds and becomes easy prey. I think that McGregor can put Cerrone away in any round but given his noted conditioning problems, I’d say the first two rounds will be key for Cowboy.

If Cerrone keeps out of harm’s way, I think that McGregor is going to tire and slow down after a couple of rounds. Not only is the Irishman fighting at welterweight which isn’t his natural weight, but he will also be fighting inside the octagon for the first time since 2018 when he lost to Nurmagomedov. So not only will Cowboy have the natural size advantage, McGregor could possibly be rusty which isn’t good for someone who puts a premium on timing and precision.

While McGregor may be the more powerful hitter here, I think Cerrone has the more versatile striking. McGregor’s kicks set up his punches while Cerrone’s kicks are his main weapons themselves. If Cerrone doesn’t get hit and he is able to land his combinations on the Notorious One, this will be an interesting fight.

With diverse striking and the ability to take the fight to the ground if needed, I think that Donald Cerrone has good betting value here. I like McGregor to win but not at this price. Cerrone is too dangerous an opponent after a long layoff. I’ll take the plus money and ride with Cowboy here for the upset win.

Prediction: Donald Cerrone

“Fighting" Holly Holm vs Raquel Pennington

Holly Holm is the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion. A multiple-time world professional boxing champion, Holm is 38-years old and stands 5-8 with a reach of 70 inches while fighting out of the southpaw stance. Holm has a record of 12-5 with eight knockouts to her credit. Since her upset win over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193. Holm has gone 2-5 with three losses coming in world title fights. The Preacher’s Daughter was knocked out in Round 1 by Amanda Nunes at UFC 239 in July 2019.

Raquel Pennington is the 5th ranked female bantamweight in the UFC. Known as Rocky, the 31-year old from Colorado has a record of 10-7 with one knockout and three submission victories. She stands 5-7 and has a reach of 67 ½ inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter. After winning four consecutive bouts from 2015-2016, she lost back to back fights to Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie. In her last bout, Pennington won a split decision against Irene Aldana last July 2019.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from as of 01/17/20

Holm is a former multiple time professional boxing world champion and she is one of the best strikers in the women’s game. Her world-class boxing experience allows here to get in and out of danger quickly. She has fantastic footwork and excellent hand speed that gives here a big advantage in striking here. Pennington is a tough as nails competitor and she can take punishment while landing her own big shots. I think that Pennington may last the distance but I don’t think she can out-box Holm here. We’ve seen her get outstruck in her last three fights and I believe we’ll see it here as well.

Prediction: Holly Holm

“Fighting" Aleksei Oleinik vs Maurice Greene

Aleksei Oleinik is the 12th ranked heavyweight fighter in the UFC. The 42-year old from Ukraine is a veteran of Bellator, M-1 Global, ProFC and KSW. The Boa Constrictor stands 6-2 with a reach of 80 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. He has a professional MMA record of 57-13-1 with 45 wins by submission and 8 by knockout. From 2017-2018, the Boa Constrictor had four wins in five bouts with all four wins by submission. However, he is coming off back to back first-round knockout losses to Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris.

Maurice Greene appeared in The Ultimate Fighter 28 and was signed by the UFC after making the semifinals of the tournament. Greene is the former Drillers Promotion and LFA Heavyweight champion who has a professional record of 8-3 with two knockouts and four submission wins. The Crochet Boss stands 6-7 tall and has a reach of 82 inches while fighting out of The Performance Compound team. After opening his UFC career with three straight wins, Greene was knocked out by Sergei Pavlovich at UFC Fight Night 162.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from as of 01/17/19

Oleinik is one of the greatest submission artists in MMA with 45 submissions in his 57 wins and he is known as the Boa Constrictor for nothing. He has elite submission skills and tremendous strength, especially with his grip. If he wins this fight, it will be definitely via submission, most probably by chokehold. However, he will have a problem getting hold of Greene here. The Crochet Boss has terrific boxing skills and a powerful overhand right that is going to put Oleinik down if it connects. Oleinik has been knocked out in his last two bouts. He will get knocked out again here.

Prediction: Maurice Greene

“Fighting" Claudia Gadelha vs Alexa Grasso

Claudia Gadelha is the 6th ranked female strawweight in the UFC today. The 31-year old Brazilian is the youngest BJJ black belt in the history of team Nova Uniao. She fought for Invicta FC where she won a title eliminator bout but left for the UFC after the victory. She stands 5-4 with a reach of 63 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance. She had a record of 17-4 with two knockouts and seven wins by submission. Gadelha has split her last four bouts and she is coming off a win over Randa Markos at UFC 239.

Alexa Grasso is the #11 strawweight in the UFC. The 26-year old from Guadalajara, Mexico fought for Xtreme Combat and Invicta FC before signing the UFC in 2016. She stands 5-5 tall with a reach of 66 inches while fighting out of the orthodox style. Grasso has a record of 11-3 with four knockouts. She is 3-3 in the UFC and is coming off a majority decision loss to Carla Esparza last September 2019.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds were taken from as of 01/17/20

Gadelha has good footwork and she cuts the ring well to force her opponents to fight on their back foot. When she’s aggressive, she connects on a good volume of punches. If her striking doesn’t work, Gadelha can always lean on her takedown game which produces over three takedowns per 15 minutes. Grasso has similar striking skills to Gadelha but I’ve seen her wait for her opponents to thrown first and lean on her counter-punching skills. I think Gadelha is the better striker between the two and she also has the better grappling skills. I don’t think Grasso can stop Gadelha from taking her down and that will be a problem in this fight.

Prediction: Claudia Gadelha

Place Your Bets Here

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *