We are only a few days away from Conor McGregor’s return.
The Irishman faces Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout at UFC 246 on Saturday in what will be his first fight in the Octagon in 15 months.
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It will also be his first welterweight fight since August 2016. Will the extra weight benefit or hinder him? Will it not matter and will we end up witnessing another early knockout?
Or will Cerrone prove to be too big? Will he take McGregor to deep waters? Or maybe even shock the world with a head kick knockout?
We rounded up some of the predictions we have seen so far from fellow fighters, coaches and experts.
Who is picking Conor McGregor to defeat Donald Cerrone?
Georges St-Pierre says odds are with McGregor
“I think if he [Cerrone] wrestles in round one he has a good chance to win. But, if he tries to play a boxing and karate game with McGregor, McGregor will knock him out … It’s hard. The odds are more towards McGregor. Cerrone can pull this off too.”
Source: Tristar Gym
Jorge Masvidal leaning towards McGregor
“It’s just tailor-made for Conor. Flatfooted, right-handed fighter is just custom made for a southpaw with a decent left hand. So, it can be interesting, because even in that mayhem Cowboy can land the knee; he could land the kick. He’s the bigger guy.
“But I think it really depends on Cowboy, what kind of strategy he comes out with.”\
Source: Submission Radio
Matt Serra going with the Irishman
“This is huge for Conor. And usually he’s [Cerrone] a slow starter. Not Conor. Conor is a beast in those early rounds. I tell you right now a lot is going to be dictated in that first round, you know?
“I think he’s [Cerrone] caught up in the ‘let’s give everybody a show type of thing.’ And in that kind of headset I think Conor will probably end up KO’ing him.”
Source: UFC Unfiltered
Stephen Thompson sees McGregor getting a finish
“I’m going with Conor McGregor to get a finish, and the reason is Cerrone doesn’t know when to stop and let his body heal up. He’s had some time off, so I think it’s going to be a very good fight, but he’s been in some wars lately, some really big wars. He’s been knocked out, and he’s not getting any younger.
Conor has a style to him that lures people’s game out fairly easily. He’s got a karate base, kind of like me, very good at distance management. Cerrone is the type of guy who kind of walks forward, Muay Thai style, very tricky though. But I think Conor, if he lands that left hand, he’ll put him to sleep for sure.”
Alexander Volkanovski expecting McGregor knockout
“I will say Conor will take that one out. I think, look I have got a lot of respect for Cowboy, but I think it’s a good matchup for Conor. I think Conor finds that chin.”
Source: BT Sport
Henry Cejudo would put money on McGregor to win
Ben Askren thinks McGregor wins ‘fairly easily’
Who is picking Donald Cerrone to defeat Conor McGregor?
Colby Covington picks Cerrone
“I’m going Cowboy. I think that Conor has cashed out…Let’s be honest he couldn’t even knock an old man off a stool. How’s he going to knock out Cowboy?”
Source: BT Sport
Kamaru Usman going for “Cowboy”
“I see a lot of people riding Cowboy off like he is mister wash. Because he’s won some and lost some. But Cowboy is a very dangerous fight for Conor. And you know I think in a bit of a Conor kind of underestimated him in a sense. I know Conor is a professional, and he’s gonna come prepared, but you know he’s underestimated an opponent before, and he paid for it. I think in a sense, he’s kind of underestimated Cowboy. And you have seen before when you light a fire in Cowboy, he’s gonna get going. So I think it’s a good good good fight but I am expecting Cowboy to respond.”
Source: BT Sport
Ray Longo explains why Cerrone can win by stoppage
“I’m picking Cowboy to win. He hasn’t done well with guys who are natural 170-pounders who can hit. But McGregor is a 145-pounder coming up to 170 pounds. So, I don’t think he will have the zap on his punches. And Cerrone has a pretty good gas tank. We know the other guy’s gas tank isn’t that good for a five-round fight.
“Conor is a counterpuncher more than anything. Cerrone’s last opponent, Justin Gaethje, is a mad hatter. What Gaethje did to Cerrone is really what I wanted [my fighter] Al [Iaquinta] to do to him, but I think Al got caught into a different type of fight and never recovered. That was the game plan, just to pressure him and go forward. I think McGregor can do that, but he hasn’t really shown us that. He’s a counterpuncher. He waits. Cerrone is 6-foot and throws a lot of kicks. I think he poses a different problem to McGregor and has more ways to win.
“Those [out-of-the-cage problems] matter for Conor. You can’t do two things at once. They affect you. [McGregor] is looking at [two sexual assault investigations in Ireland, per The New York Times]. It’s gotta get to you, man. Can you concentrate and do the right thing? He’s got money; he’s always in trouble. I don’t know. It’s tough, man. I’m gonna say Cerrone stops him in the fourth round by TKO.”
Sayif Saud believes Cerrone could submit McGregor ‘fairly easily’
Here’s the biggest X factor: Donald Cerrone’s ground game is so much better than people understand. Donald Cerrone on the ground is a problem. He’s got some of the best jiu-jitsu and submissions. If he gets Conor on the ground, he might submit him — fairly easily, honestly.
The only issue is, is his wrestling good enough to get Conor on the ground? Sometimes Donald hits that quick takedown and it’s not bad. Gets that quick bodylock takedown on people. [Cerrone’s team] knows damn well they have an advantage on the ground. Now, I think Donald will stand with him. And if Donald can get going over five rounds, he can beat Conor in a kickboxing match, even. We’ve seen Conor fade time and time again. He lost the standup against Khabib — straight up. He just lost it. All he does is try to line up that big left hand.
McGregor is gonna be in great shape and very dangerous in the first two rounds. And that’s when Donald, historically, has done bad. He needs time to warm up. I think over a five-round fight, Donald has a slight advantage. I’ll go with Cerrone. Everyone is gonna go with Conor, I just think Donald, if he can survive the first round or two, has more ways to win.
Michael Chiesa says Cerrone has more ways to win
“This fight favors Cowboy a lot more than people think. Donald has a lot more tools to win this fight. I like the fact Donald is going against a southpaw. Kicking is his strong point, so I could see him letting that right kick fly into Conor’s open, left-handed stance. But Conor’s left hand is an equalizer. I think it’s going to be a strongside fight. I see Donald attacking the strong side with the right kick and Conor using that trademark left hand.
The other X factor is Cowboy has a very underrated ground game. He has this inside double-leg takedown he does, where he always lands in a dominant position. And he’s phenomenal on the ground. I really wouldn’t be surprised if part of Donald’s game plan is to get Conor to the ground. Donald has kind of unconventional wrestling. I’m not saying it’s easier to train for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s wrestling, but I am saying Nurmagomedov is a lot more predictable. Cowboy has a funkier wrestling style to deal with.
Conor in the early onset is dangerous as f—. Not only is he dangerous to knock you out, but if you start to concede to it, it’s like a snowball effect. It’s a really interesting fight to call, honesty. I’m going Donald Cerrone. When I pick fights, my bias is usually to the guy with more ways to win. I think he’ll get the job done.”
Matt Brown picks Cowboy to defeat McGregor
“Cowboy has a better chance than people are giving him credit for, especially at 170 pounds. He’s bigger, taller. Conor’s power isn’t gonna carry as much weight at 170, especially against a guy as big as Cowboy, who will be hydrated, not cutting as much weight.
“Also, Cowboy has really good kicks. I know that. I took one to my face. Conor keeps his hands low. He’s gotta get close to him. Cowboy has good knees, good timing with his knees. It’s a tough matchup for Conor. On that same token, where is Cowboy at? Where’s his chin? Is he fighting for the money this fight? Is he gonna be an [Andy Ruiz in his rematch against Anthony Joshua] in this fight — get the fight and party the whole time — or is he gonna take it seriously? I think Cowboy will take it seriously, and I pick him to win.”
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