It’s time for the hype to give way to the action. On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Conor McGregor returns to the UFC’s Octagon to battle veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
Here are the 12 things you need to know about UFC 246.
How to Watch
- Date: Saturday, January 18
- Time: 7 pm ET, 8 pm ET and 10 pm ET
- TV: ESPN for mid-level prelims
- Live Stream: ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass for early prelims. ESPN+ for main card
One Fight Has Been Cancelled
Alexa Grasso was supposed to face Claudia Gadelha on the main card. Unfortunately, Grasso missed weight by 5.5 pounds and the fight was cancelled. The bout between Ode Osbourne and Brian Kelleher has been elevated to the main card.
Here is a look at all of the weigh-in results:
- Conor McGregor (170) vs. Donald Cerrone (170)
- Holly Holm (135.5) vs. Raquel Pennington (136)
- Aleksei Oleinik (238) vs. Maurice Greene (243)
- Claudia Gadelha (115.5) vs. Alexa Grasso (121.5 *missed weight)
- Brian Kelleher (136) vs. Ode Osbourne (135) – moved from undercard
- Anthony Pettis (155.5) vs. Diego Ferreira (155.5)
- Roxanne Modafferi (125) vs. Maycee Barber (126)
- Andre Fili (145.5) vs. Sodiq Yusuff (146)
- Tim Elliott (125.5) vs. Askar Askarov (126)
- Drew Dober (155.5) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (156)
- Aleksa Camur (204) vs. Justin Ledet (205)
- Sabina Mazo (125.5) vs. JJ Aldrich (125.5)
Here is a look at the latest odds for UFC 246 after the weigh-ins:
- JJ Aldrich (-110) vs. Sabina Mazo (-110)
- Aleksa Camur (-125) vs. Justin Ledet (+105)
- Nasrat Haqparast (-330) vs. Drew Dober (+270)
- Askar Askarov (-145) vs. Tim Elliott (+125)
- Sodiq Yusuf (-135) vs. Andre Fili (+115)
- Maycee Barber (-900) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (+600)
- Diego Ferreira (-230) vs. Anthony Pettis (+190)
- Ode Osbourne (-145) vs. Brian Kelleher (+125)
- Maurice Greene (-125) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+105)
- Holly Holm (-123) vs. Raquel Pennington (+103)
- Conor McGregor (-315) vs. Donald Cerrone (+265)
It’s been 15 months since McGregor was last in the Octagon. That’s when he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 via submission and all hell broke loose which led to his long layoff.
McGregor hasn’t actually won a fight in the UFC since he defeated Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title in November 2016. Saturday’s main event will be fought at 170 pounds. In his career, McGregor has only fought at welterweight twice. He split those fights with Nate Diaz.
While he looked great at the weigh-ins, the real questions about rust and weight management will be answered on Saturday night in the Octagon.
Cerrone’s Losing Streak
Despite the obvious push to defeat a fellow legend like McGregor, Cerrone needs a win to avoid the dreaded three-fight losing streak. Cerrone is coming off stoppage losses to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. As he ages, he has to know his opportunities to capture the elusive world title are dwindling.
If he cannot beat McGregor, he may have wasted his last chance to climb the mountain.
I believe Cerrone has a chance to pull an upset, but he isn’t the liveliest of underdogs on the card. There is some solid matchmaking on this card which creates more attractive underdogs.
Keep an eye on Dober.
He looked great in his last win over Marco Polo Reyes, and I’m not sure if the 24-year-old Haqparast is worthy of such wide odds against a capable veteran like Dober. I expect this match to be a step up in competition for Haqparast.
Likewise, Pettis’ burial might be a bit premature. He looked chiseled again at 155 pounds as he appeared to make the weight without major issue at Friday’s weigh-ins. Also, his opponent Ferreira, doesn’t have the greatest striking defense. There will be openings for Pettis on the feet and on the ground where he is especially tricky.
Pettis might be the best pick at +190 on a $100 bet.
Both Osbourne and Aleksa Camur competed on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series, but they will be making their debuts as a part of the main roster on Saturday.
Osbourne’s fight with Kelleher is now a main-card attraction, and it could be a great scrap. Osbourne’s speed and sneaky submission skills make him a tough out. Kelleher will provide a significant test in the 27-year-old’s first taste of UFC talent.
Camur only has five professional fights, but he made an impression on White and Co. when he scored an exciting KO via flying knee on Fabio Cherant in July 2019 at the DWTNCS.
The 24-year-old light heavyweight has stopped every opponent he’s faced, but he might be getting in deep with the slick boxing Justin Ledet.
Like Osbourne, Camur will have a strong test in his UFC debut.
On the Cusp of a Title Shot
If Barber defeats Modafferi as expected, she still might need another victory before she can challenge for the UFC Flyweight title. Still, there is no doubt she’s closing in on the target.
Barber will come into Saturday’s fight ranked No. 9 and she is the heaviest favorite on the card over Modafferi, who is ranked No. 6.
Barber hasn’t just been beating opponents, she’s been getting stoppages. In fact, she has had three straight stoppage wins by TKO. At 21 years old, she is one of the brightest young stars in the sport. She’ll be trying to add another finish to her resume and accelerate her shot at the title.
Barber comes in a perfect 8-0, but she isn’t the only fighter on the card with a spotless record. Camur is 5-0, though he hasn’t faced the toughest competition. There is also Askar Askarov (10-0-1) who had to settle for a draw in his UFC debut against Brandon Moreno in September 2019.
Askarov probably won’t find his tangle with Elliott that much easier as both men bring strong grappling skills into the Octagon. Still, the Russian is favored to get his first win in the UFC.
Potential Fight of the Night
Sabina Mazo and JJ Aldrich are both gifted strikers, and their fight seems destined to be contested on the feet. Mazo comes forward launching fists, knees, feet and elbows, but she must beware Aldrich’s fast counters.
There is the obvious chance this one could be a stinker as Mazo struggled a bit to make weight. However, if the stylistic matchup I see reaches its potential, this fight could be the most exciting of the night.
Any time you have a 42-year-old heavyweight on the card who already has 13 losses on his career–and who is an underdog–you have to consider them a candidate to retire if they take another L. That’s Oleinik, who is facing Maurice Greene.
I’d also say keep an eye on Pettis, who is only 32, but has been in a lot of wars. Holm seems like a longshot, but she is 38 years old. A loss would drastically cripple her chances of getting back to a title shot. She is 2-5 since defeating Ronda Rousey in 2015.
Lastly, there is Cerrone. He’ll be 37 in March. If he loses, he’ll be on a three-fight losing streak, but he’ll also have collected the biggest payday of his career. It might be another unlikely occurrence, but not a preposterous thought.