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Three Reasons Why McGregor Will Beat Cerrone

Why McGregor Will Beat Cerrone

The biggest star in the sport of mixed martial arts makes his return this weekend at UFC 246 in Las Vegas. As polarizing a figure as Conor McGregor is, there’s no denying that he brings eyes to the sport.

But with this being his first time in the Octagon since being choked out by Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018, the question of what kind of shape he will be in is a valid one.

Sportsbooks and bettors seem to think rust won’t be a big factor as he’s currently sitting as a -325 favorite over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone Betting Odds
FighterOdds
Conor McGregor-325
Donald Cerrone+250

Odds as of January 16 at Bovada

I’m here to help support that theory. Despite an ugly loss to the Russian in his last bout, Conor McGregor will win this fight, and win it handily. I’ll break down three reasons why I think this will happen.

If you want a reason to bet on the underdog, check out Scott Hastings’ article on why he thinks Cowboy Cerrone will pull off the upset. I mean, he’s wrong, but you can read it anyway if you choose to do so.

If you’re unsure how to place a bet on this fight, Odds Shark has a useful article to provide you with all the information you need.

Donald Cerrone Is His Own Worst Enemy

Before I get into the X’s and O’s of the fight, I want to talk about the mental game of both fighters.

If you’ve followed the career of Cowboy Cerrone, you know all too well that how he’s feeling mentally going into the fight plays a BIG part in his performance. You can almost tell how the fight will go when he’s walking to the Octagon. If not then, you can definitely tell within the first minute of the first round. Make no mistake about it, when he’s on, he’s one of the best fighters in the sport (see his fights vs Rick Story, Mike Perry, Alex Hernandez, etc.). But when he’s off, he’s OFF.

It seems that the bigger the stage, the brighter the lights, the more likely he is to mentally crumble. The most obvious example of this was his one and only career title shot in 2015 when he lost via TKO to Rafael dos Anjos in just over a minute. He lost that fight before the bell even rang.

Even though this isn’t a title fight, this will be far and away the biggest stage he has ever fought on. It has to make you think, when McGregor does his billionaire strut to the Octagon while his iconic remix of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Foggy Dew” and Biggie’s “Hypnotize” blares through T-Mobile Arena, will Cowboy Cerrone let his nerves take over?

McGregor’s Pinpoint Striking

It’s pretty safe to assume that the large majority of this fight will take place standing up. Cowboy has never been known to shoot for a takedown, and if he does, McGregor has decent to good takedown defense, despite what his most recent outing might make you think.

If this fight stays on the feet, McGregor will have the advantage. Look no further than his lightweight title fight against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 when he put on one of the most impressive performances in the history of the sport. Every strike he threw landed with pinpoint accuracy, laced with the venom of his unworldly power. Cerrone has been taken out by strikes from fighters much less skilled than McGregor, including his most recent fight against Justin Gaethje.

It’s very possible that we see another performance from McGregor similar to the ones we saw against Alvarez, Aldo and Poirier.

McGregor Is Re-Focused

I wouldn’t normally spend this time talking about the mental aspect of a fight, but I think it’s more relevant in this fight than in any other in recent memory. Anyone who has followed McGregor’s career is aware of the obvious personality and motivation changes he has had throughout. He went from a motivated fighter whose only concern was winning a world championship, to a man who valued partying, drugs, alcohol and a life of luxury over success in the Octagon.

He has spoken candidly about this recently, admitting that he was even drinking and partying the week of the Khabib Nurmagomedov fight.

After taking time off and running into legal trouble, it seems he has turned a corner and is back to being the motivated fighter that he once was. All signs point toward him taking this fight very seriously, and it would appear that he’s in it for the right reasons.

His demeanor reminds me of the zen state he was in before fighting Jose Aldo for the featherweight belt at UFC 194, and we all know what happened in that bout.

Now, this could very well be all smoke and mirrors, but I truly don’t think that’s the case.

A focused and motivated Conor McGregor is truly one of the best fighters on the planet and I think we’re going to see that version of the Irish fighter this weekend.

How To Get Value Betting On The Notorious

If I’ve done enough to persuade you to bet on “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, the next question is how do you get value on him. Unless you are betting a significant sum of money, it’s hard to get excited betting on a -325 favorite. You can get a little bit more value betting on him to win by TKO/KO, but still, that is set at just -235 at Bovada.

As bold a prediction as it may sound, I do think you want to look at McGregor to finish the fight in the first round at +175, or for him to finish the fight in the second round at +300. Those are the two rounds in which he seems to get his finishes in the Octagon. He put away Brimage, Brandao, Poirier and Aldo in the first, and he has second-round finishes against Siver, Mendes and Alvarez.

Keep in mind, Donald Cerrone himself has been finished inside the first round three times since 2015 (dos Anjos, Till and Gaethje).

However this fight turns out, I think we can all agree that seeing “The Notorious” Conor McGregor return to the UFC Octagon is nothing but a good thing for the sport. We are set up to be entertained on Saturday night, one way or the other.