After a tumultuous year, Conor McGregor is finally returning to the UFC octagon, and his plan to bounce back to the top of the game begins on January 18 when he takes on American fan-favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246 in Las Vegas.
The Dubliner has found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during 2019, but now he is looking to get back into the swing of things by defeating “Cowboy” and moving one step closer to a big-time clash for either a world title, or a superfight against another big-name opponent.
But first he has to deal with Cerrone, whose ability to wow the fans is written all over his career record. No man has picked up more post-fight bonuses (for fight of the night, performance of the night, knockout of the night or submission of the night) than “Cowboy”, and the American will relish the chance to welcome McGregor back to the cage early in the New Year.
As you’d expect, Paddy’s oddsmakers have wasted no time in releasing a full slate of odds for the eagerly-anticipated clash, with McGregor an 4/11 favourite to defeat Cerrone, who is rated a 15/8 shot.
But if you’re looking a solid value pick, we’ve got you covered, whoever you plan on siding with on fight night.
As the betting underdog, Cerrone offers more value when you glance over the different markets, and we like the look of the 5/1 on offer for “Cowboy” to get the victory via submission.
Cerrone loves to stand and bang, but against a power striker like McGregor, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the American mix things up a bit and chuck a few takedown attempts into the mix. And, if he’s successful in getting McGregor to the mat, Cerrone may well find himself with the grappling advantage.
Despite his reputation as a stand-up fighter, “Cowboy” has more finishes by submission (17) than knockouts (10) on his record. And he’s used those submission skills to put away dangerous strikers before – just ask Mike Perry and Edson Barboza. So if you’re looking to back “Cowboy” ahead of the New Year showdown, I reckon Cerrone by submission is your best bet.
Most will likely side with McGregor, however. He’ll be all fired up for a win after his submission defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov back at UFC 229 and, in typical McGregor style, only a crowd-pleasing finish will do.
The Dubliner really only knows one way to fight, and in the main it’s been mightily effective. He stalks his opponents, landing kicks from range, then steps inside, using his lead right hand as a rangefinder, then looks to find a home for his honey punch, the left cross.
If Cerrone obliges him and looks to stand and trade, McGregor’s power, especially fighting at the more comfortable weight of welterweight, could make a difference early in the fight. But given the fact he will have been away from active competition for 15 months by the time he steps in to face Cerrone, it might well take him a round or two to get into top gear.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) November 28, 2019
“McGregor by KO” will likely be the most popular bet, so if you’re leaning in that direction, it makes sense to jump on early and get the 8/11 odds before they shorten ahead of fight night.
But if you fancy a McGregor KO win, want a little more bang for your buck (well, Euro), the “Method & Round Combo” market gives you the chance of a healthier return.
McGregor to win via knockout is available for 5/2, 5/1, 13/1, 19/1 and 22/1 for Rounds 1 to 5 respectively. And the 13/1 on “The Notorious” to get the stoppage in the third round looks like an excellent bet.
He may take a round to get his eye in, while Cerrone will still be fresh in the second. But after a full round of McGregor at full power, “Cowboy” may be ready for the taking in the third.
*Prices correct at time of publication but are fluid