Conor McGregor makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon this Saturday when he faces Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Las Vegas.
The two are scheduled to battle in a welterweight main event bout at UFC 246. Surprisingly, the atmosphere has been cordial in the lead-up to this non-title fight, unlike McGregor’s last title challenge against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Mcgregor’s return is likely to draw in close to a million viewers from around the world, so if you’re one of the many new readers here at WagerBop this week, make sure to hang around and sign up for our free betting picks.
UFC 246 Odds
All odds listed are from BetDSI
- Conor McGregor (-333) vs. Donald Cerrone (+262)
- Holly Holm (-133) vs. Raquel Pennington (+111)
- Aleksei Oleinik (+111) vs. Maurice Greene (-133)
- Alexa Grasso (-104) vs. Claudia Gadelha (-115)
- Anthony Pettis (+198) vs. Diego Ferreira (-244)
- Maycee Barber (-1000) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (+635)
- Andre Fili (+122) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (-147)
- Askar Askarov (-141) vs. Tim Elliott (+117)
- Drew Dober (+272) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (-345)
- Aleksa Camur (-118) vs. Justin Ledet (-102)
- Brian Kelleher (+122) vs. Ode Osbourne (-147)
- JJ Aldrich (-106) vs. Sabina Mazo (-115)
Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone
The odds have shifted in a big way before this weekend’s clash. McGregor opened at -160 with Cerrone listed as a +130 favorite at some sites back in October. But as time has passed, McGregor has drifted out as a significant betting favorite.
It’s been 15 months since Conor McGregor has been inside the Octagon and it’s been even longer since he’s experienced success. His last victory was a brilliant one, but it came all the way back in December 2016 against Eddie Alvarez. McGregor’s never needed a victory more than he does right now — especially considering that he’s facing a middle-ranked fighter on a two-fight losing streak.
Donald Cerrone has been a fan-favorite for many years because of his exciting fighting style, but he’s never broken through to become regarded as one of the sport’s elite. Rather, he sits just below the top-ranked lightweight fighters today and enters this fight at UFC 246 following defeats to Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson.
But still, on any given night, Cerrone is as dangerous as they come and many might consider these odds to be too wide.
Considering the significance of this fight — and any Conor McGregor fight — countless experts have shared their take on how the fight will play out.
Many high-level MMA coaches believe that Cerrone’s best chance to win the fight comes in the later rounds, once he has finally adjusted to the speed and timing of his opponent. Likewise, they feel that McGregor holds major advantages at the beginning of the bout, considering his typically fast starts compared to Cerrone is slow out of the blocks.
Fellow fighters and analysts also point out that “Cowboy” has more ways to win. Cerrone is slick on the mat and has an incredibly dangerous submission game that could catch McGregor off-guard at UFC 246.
These opinions are not groundbreaking — the vast majority of dedicated UFC fans could tell you the same thing…
And it’s undoubtedly clear that McGregor and his coach John Kavanagh know all about how to exploit Cerrone’s slow starts, as well. History shows that the simplest way of defeating Cerrone is by marching forward, applying pressure, and targeting the body. Cerrone was worked by Rafael dos Anjos in this way in 2015, and more recently, he was battered by Darren Till, who employed a similar strategy.
In the last 24 months, Cerrone has made noticeable adjustments to deter opponents from merely rushing forward and overloading him with strikes. While his greatest win in 2019 was against Al Iaquinta, his best performance was arguably against Alexander Hernandez as he continually crushed intercepting knees into Hernandez’s chest as he came forward.
When he’s allowed the opportunity to work at his own pace, Cerrone is incredibly dangerous. His striking ability is renowned in the UFC as he has collected $50k bonuses over the years for memorable knockouts of all varieties.
But it seems almost certain that Cerrone won’t be able to get on his front foot as often as he’d like this Saturday. McGregor’s feints and timing will be problematic for “Cowboy,” who will likely become frustrated as McGregor distracts with his lead right hand and awaits the best moment to strike with his powerful left.
If the fight is contested at boxing range, McGregor should be able to put Cerrone away inside the first round. The Irishman will keep moving forward, disallowing Cerrone to use his kicks, while also landing combinations to the head and body.
But what about Cerrone’s grappling?
We probably won’t see it.
McGregor is a difficult fighter to take down. He manages distance extremely well and has improved his takedown defense over the years. Although he was defeated by Nurmagomedov last time he was in the Octagon, he displayed decent awareness of how to stop takedowns.
Cerrone’s best chance of a victory here is if he can find himself in an unexpected clinch with McGregor and find an opportunity for a body lock takedown. With a sudden takedown and top position, Cerrone will have the chance for a swift submission victory — but this is highly unlikely.
Prediction: Conor McGregor to win in round one – TKO
Bet: Conor McGregor to win in round one (+175 at BetOnline)
Bet explainer: McGregor can follow the footsteps of Darren Till and Rafael dos Anjos who punished Cowboy early in the fight and scored a first-round finish. McGregor and his team know that fighting in the middle and late rounds with Cowboy would be an unnecessary danger, and they likely hunt for the finish in the first five minutes. The Irishman certainly has the power, and Cerrone is a known slow-starter. The value lies in betting McGregor to come out unscathed.
Jake is a mixed martial arts reporter from Australia. At WagerBop, he merges his appreciation of combat sports and a strong passion for analytics to uncover opportunities for readers.