UFC 246 Predictions: McGregor vs. Cerrone

UFC 246 McGregor Cerrone
Image Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

UFC 246 is upon us. The event will be held inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada tomorrow night (Jan. 18). Headlining the card will be a welterweight clash between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone. The co-main event will see Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington. Also featured on the main card will be a lightweight battle between Anthony Pettis and Diego Ferreira.

MMA News continues to keep you posted on the latest UFC 246 updates. Earlier today, we covered the weigh-ins, which you can see the results for here. Myself, Ed Carbajal, and Andrew Ravens have once again linked up to provide main card predictions for UFC 246.

Take a look at the bouts set for the main card:

  • Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone
  • Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
  • Aleksei Oleinik vs. Maurice Greene
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne
  • Anthony Pettis vs. Diego Ferreira

Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone

Fernando Quiles Jr.: The general consensus is that Conor McGregor must finish Donald Cerrone early or he risks being stopped via TKO or submission in the later rounds. While those scenarios have been talked about ad nauseam, I tend to agree. “Cowboy” is dangerous but he can certainly be stopped within two rounds. I think McGregor catches Cerrone clean early with counters and puts him away. (Prediction: Conor McGregor)

Ed Carbajal: Both fighters are coming off a loss. In martial arts competition, a popular saying is that “losses are lessons” but these two may not always learn from them. Cerrone was asked by ESPN if he would impose his grappling on McGregor since all his losses in MMA are by submission but Cerrone said he wanted to test McGregor’s standup. That is likely what makes the matchup interesting and probably why McGregor is the favorite. Cerrone likes to live a little dangerously, but if he feels he is in deep water he can likely use his ground game if the fight goes to the later rounds. (Prediction: Donald Cerrone)

Andrew Ravens: There are so many things to question with this fight. In short, it will be great. Can McGregor get back to the level that he once was, can he be as active as he had been? Can Cerrone beat the biggest name in the sport? So many questions and we have to wait until Saturday night to find out. I don’t think Cerrone is at the level that he once was but he can still beat some great caliber fighters. McGregor should win this fight but I think it goes the distance as Cerrone will give him a challenge. (Prediction: Conor McGregor)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Conor McGregor

Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington

Fernando Quiles Jr: It’s going to be interesting to see how Holly Holm bounces back from what could have been her final UFC title bout against Amanda Nunes. My biggest concern here is whether or not Holm will be able to stay motivated. I believe she is a true professional and will show up to fight on Saturday night. I see her picking Pennington apart from the outside with her kickboxing en route to a unanimous decision win. (Prediction: Holly Holm)

Ed Carbajal: Holm and Pennington have faced off before with Holm earning a split decision. That was in 2015 and as fans have seen a lot from these two women since then and in MMA, the name of the game is “Evolve or die”. Holm’s striking and range got her a championship but she has not changed much since then. She may have tried different things lately but only winning two of her last seven shows she might be having trouble adapting to today’s MMA. Most of Pennington’s wins are by decision but she could be a little more perceptive this second time around. (Prediction: Raquel Pennington)

Andrew Ravens: An interesting fight considering that Pennington had fallen off after challenging Amanda Nunes for the strap. We also have Holm who seems to be on a roller coaster ride over the past few fights. This is a real pick em but I think Holm’s elite striking skills will lead her to victory by unanimous decision.  (Prediction: Holly Holm)

CONSENSUS: 2-1, Holly Holm

Aleksei Oleinik vs. Maurice Greene

Fernando Quiles Jr: Maurice Greene can take care of himself on the ground and has submission wins to his own credit, but Aleksei Oleinik has a bevy of experience on his side. Greene’s boxing very well could be the difference-maker and I think that’s how it’ll go. I think Greene lands on Oleinik, causing him to turtle and then Greene will go in for the TKO. (Prediction: Maurice Greene)

Ed Carbajal: Oleinik has been fighting for a long time and while he has a solid submission game that can catch any opponent under MMA rules, it is hard to pick against the younger Greene. Greene’s coming off of a loss and might have a little more to prove building his resume in MMA. Oleinik likely won’t lie down for Greene but Greene may want back in the win column a little more. (Prediction: Maurice Greene)

Andrew Ravens: This should be another impressive performance for Greene, who has made his presence known in the division. Oleinik is a talented fighter and could give Greene a challenge but I think it would be hard to question Greene in this fight, which I see him winning by TKO. Let the young buck shine. (Prediction: Maurice Greene)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Maurice Greene

Brian Kelleher vs. Ode Osbourne

Fernando Quiles Jr.: I can’t help but wonder if this last-minute switcharoo will add nerves for Ode Osbourne, who is making his UFC debut. Kelleher has dropped two straight bouts and another defeat tonight could be bad news for him in terms of his UFC run. I’ll take Osbourne seizing the moment and submitting Kelleher to begin his UFC run with a bang. (Prediction: Ode Osbourne)

Ed Carbajal: Another Contender Series standout gets his chance to shine on a high profile UFC card at UFC 246. Osbourne came in and won a first-round submission when he won his shot into the UFC last summer and is going to be tested in more ways than one against Kelleher. Kelleher is coming off of two losses in a row and losing to a new face in the UFC might be something he fights hard enough against to win. Debut jitters could play a factor for Osbourne but it’s hard to pick against him. (Prediction: Ode Osbourne)

Andrew Ravens: Obviously, with this being a late fight addition to the main card, our first hope should be that these fighters bring some heat and deliver a good fight. With that said, it’s a so-so fight as Ode is still trying to find himself as a young fighter. On the flip side, Kelleher has lost his last two bouts. Thus, I side with Ode to walk away submission win. (Prediction: Ode Osbourne)

CONSENSUS: 3-0, Ode Osbourne

Anthony Pettis vs. Diego Ferreira

Fernando Quiles Jr.: “Showtime” Anthony Pettis claims he couldn’t showcase the best of his ability against Nate Diaz due to a freak accident where he cut his hand an hour before the fight. If he truly enters the Octagon 100 percent, I think he beats Diego Ferreira. He could run into trouble if he’s got some issues going into the bout but I’m taking Pettis here to wear down Ferreira in the standup. (Prediction: Anthony Pettis)

Ed Carbajal: Ferreira is on a five-fight win streak and will surely be tested at UFC 246 against Pettis. Pettis is coming off the loss to Nate Diaz last August at UFC 241 and is likely not only looking to get back in the win column, but let the MMA community know he is still a tough opponent for anyone he stands across the cage from. Ferreira has all the tools to beat Pettis, but Pettis is probably motivated enough to win his first fight of 2020. (Prediction: Anthony Pettis)

Andrew Ravens: On paper, this is an easy fight to pick. Pettis has been on a roller coaster ride for the past few years while Ferreira has been on a hot streak by winning his last five fights. I can’t trust Pettis in this fight due to his consent history and have Ferreira winning by unanimous decision. (Prediction: Diego Ferreira)

CONSENSUS: 2-1 Anthony Pettis

That’ll do it for the UFC 246 predictions. Do you agree with the MMA News staffers? Who do you think will emerge victorious on the main card? Give us your predictions in the comments below and be sure to stick with us for live coverage of UFC 246.