UFC 246 tips: Best bets for McGregor v Cerrone
Jack Green makes his picks for the main and co-main events as Conor McGregor returns on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
CONOR MCGREGOR V DONALD CERRONE
It’s the return of the Mac on Saturday night as McGregor enters the Octagon for the first time since his submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.
While it remains to be seen how much McGregor’s time off and various controversies have affected him, there’s no doubt that, at his best, he remains one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters and a genuine title contender in multiple divisions.
Standing in his way this weekend is Cerrone, who is one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC but also coming off back-to-back defeats.
‘Cowboy’ had moved into the lightweight title picture with three successive victories between November 2018 and May 2019, but TKO defeats to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje have set him back.
Nevertheless, Cerrone is a solid all-round fighter, has more skill on the mat than McGregor and should be much sharper given that he’s fought five times since the Irishman’s last appearance.
It’s still hard to look past McGregor, though. It’s been more than three years since the 31-year-old’s last win, but he should have enough pop in his left hand to hurt Cerrone, whose chin has failed him of late.
Cowboy would be well-advised to try to take this fight to the ground but, aside from the mauling he suffered against Nurmagomedov, McGregor has shown the ability to get off the mat in the past.
He may take the first round to regain his sharpness, but McGregor’s left hand should eventually land and a second-round stoppage looks a good bet.
McGregor to win in Round 2
HOLLY HOLM V RAQUEL PENNINGTON
Saturday night’s co-main event is a rematch of a 2015 meeting between these two bantamweights, which Holm edged by split decision.
‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ went on to win the title with a stunning upset of Ronda Rousey later that year, but has struggled ever since then, winning just two of her last seven fights.
Holm lost by TKO to Amanda Nunes in her last fight in July and really can’t afford to be beaten by Pennington, who is coming off a split-decision victory over Irene Aldana.
The 31-year-old is a more powerful striker than Holm and has won five of her seven fights since losing the first meeting, but her style does not match up well with the 38-year-old.
Holm is happy to stay on the outside and pick her opponents apart, and Pennington lacks the athleticism or movement to get inside the former champion’s defence and land big shots.
It probably won’t be a classic victory, but Hold should be able to keep Pennington at arm’s length and once again get the win by decision.
Holm to win on points
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