The UFC heads to Las Vegas this weekend for another exciting card in the form of UFC 246. Conor McGregor makes his highly anticipated return against Donald Cerrone at Welterweight in our Main Event. Holly Holm will take on Raquel Pennington in the Co-Main, while Aleksei Oleinik and Maurice Greene will also do battle at Heavyweight. We’ll preview all 3 of these fights, providing our best bets for each.
Conor McGregor: McGregor enters this bout with a very impressive 21-4 career MMA record. He’s won both the Featherweight and Lightweight titles but will move up to Welterweight again for this fight. He has suffered two defeats in his last 4 bouts, getting submitted by Khabib during his last fight in 2018. Known primarily for his elite striking ability, 18 of his 21 wins have come via KO.
Donald Cerrone: The 36-year-old veteran enters this bout with a 36-13 career record. He has lost each of his last two bouts, suffering brutal KO’s both times. He’s fought at Lightweight for most of his career, but the step up to Welterweight isn’t unfamiliar for him. Known as a submission specialist, 17 of his 36 wins have come by way of submission.
Prediction: McGregor by KO/TKO
Cerrone has looked awful in his last few fights and enters this clash as a pretty firm underdog. Not only is McGregor the better of the two fighters, he also has much more on the line and should be more motivated here. Neither of these fighters are renowned for their cardio, so a finish appears pretty likely within the 5 rounds. I think McGregor has a pretty strong edge in a striking battle here and should be able to drop Cerrone somewhere in the middle rounds.
Holly Holm: One of the more influential female MMA figures of recent memory, Holm enters this bout with a 12-5 career record. She started out a very impressive 10-0 and even claimed the women’s bantamweight crown, but has really tailed off of late. She has elite striking ability for a female fighter, securing knockouts in 8 of her 12 wins thus far.
Raquel Pennington: The veteran Pennington enters this clash with a 10-7 record for her career. She has tended to struggle against top opponents, losing in her title clash against Amanda Nunes in 2018. 6 of her 10 career wins have come by decision, including a split decision over Irene Aldana last time out.
Prediction: Holm by Decision
The odds are relatively close for this one, but I think Holm has a pretty strong edge here. She is the bigger and more experienced fighter, no doubt motivated by what is probably her last run to a title shot. I expect her to really out-strike Pennington and keep this fight on the feet, ultimately doing enough to secure a decision victory.
Aleksei Oleinik: The 42-year-old vet enters this clash after a storied career that has him at 57-13. His form has really dipped of late, suffering 3 knockouts within his last 5 fights. In his prime he was known as a submission specialist, securing 45 submission wins thus far.
Maurice Greene: Greene doesn’t have near the experience of his opponent, going just 8-3 in his 11 career bouts. He joined the UFC last year and has gone 2-1 thus far, including getting knocked out by Pavlovich last time out. He also operates primarily as a submission specialist, earning 4 submission wins thus far.
Prediction: Oleinik by Submission
Greene probably has the edge on the feet here, but neither of these guys can be considered striking specialists. Oleinik has vastly more experience at this level and should be able to get the fight on the ground against a willing opponent. In what could be his last professional fight, I think he showcases his elite ground moves one more time to claim a final submission.