UFC 246 Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions: Best Bets for McGregor-Cerrone, Holm-Pennington
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Conor McGregor
UFC 246 Betting Picks, Odds & Predictions
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas, Nev.)
- Channel: ESPN+ PPV
Conor McGregor (-295) vs. Donald Cerrone (+240) (Welterweight)
After a 15-month absence, Conor McGregor (21-4) makes his return to the octagon at UFC 246 on Saturday against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-13) in an ESPN+ pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
McGregor last fought for the UFC in October 2018, when he relinquished his Lightweight title to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229. He last competed at Welterweight against Nate Diaz in August 2016.
Cerrone, who has the most wins, knockdowns, and finishes in UFC history, returns to Welterweight after two consecutive losses against powerful strikers at Lightweight.
This could be an exciting fight as the crowd-pleasing Cowboy seems set to stand and bang with one of the most dangerous strikers in the world.
As a result, this bout could be over in a flash — McGregor has won by knockout in 85% of his victories, finishing 13 of those 18 fights (72%) in the first round.
If you’re looking to get money down on McGregor this weekend, you can find the best odds with this promotion from PointsBet.
Tale of the Tape
Cerrone is the taller fighter, but the pair have a similar reach.
McGregor looks like he’s carrying his weight much more naturally at Welterweight than he was at Lightweight, which could help to improve both his overall power and his stamina in the later rounds against Cerrone.
Conor McGregor’s Path to Victory
When asked whether he would take this fight to the ground, Cerrone said, “You know, I probably should. But I don’t think I will … Everyone says his stand-up is amazing, so why not go and test it? Everyone says, ‘You wanna just stand there and get knocked out?’ But it’s my decision. It’s my stupidity.”
Cerrone’s gameplan should feed right into McGregor’s strengths.
The two have similar striking stats, but McGregor has the superior fight IQ and the more unpredictable tendencies. Meanwhile, he’s exceptionally skilled at learning his opponent’s tendencies and setting up traps to make them pay for their habits, often relying on his counter left, while retreating, to score surprising knockdowns and knockouts:
Connor would be well-served to target Cerrone with body shots, an area where he’s been hurt in the past.
Cerrone also tends to become overexcited and overaggressive, leaving himself in vulnerable positions to absorb significant strikes.
Turning this into a knockout fest would not be to his benefit.
Cerrone is a battler, but his chin has become less of a strength over time. After losing by doctor stoppage against Tony Ferguson and a first-round knockout to Justin Gaethje in the past year, he has only so many shots left to take.
Donald Cerrone’s Path to Victory
McGregor’s ground game can be exploited — most notably by Khabib Nurmagomedov in Conor’s last fight. But Cerrone has been adamant that he’s going to keep this one on the feet, no matter his grappling advantage.
It seems unlikely that he would prevail in a kickboxing contest against McGregor. Still, to do so, he’s going to have to block Conor’s left hand repeatedly and pound McGregor with leg kicks to wear him down, throwing the otherwise smooth Irishman off-balance and off his game.
Cerrone undoubtedly has significant power in his legs:
— UFC (@ufc) May 5, 2019
And McGregor’s stamina is a question, especially after a few years of ring rust. If Cerrone can commit to a bit of grappling, and some leg kicks to wear Conor down, he has the chance to out-point McGregor for five rounds.
He’s significantly more experienced at Welterweight, and won’t have to shake off any cobwebs in the early stages.
Current and Past Odds
Conor opened as a -160 favorite (implied 61.5%) for this bout, but the line has only moved his way, now indicating that he has a 78% chance of victory.
As you can see, the line has typically moved away from both fighters in their previous bouts, suggesting that both fighters are a bit overrated in the betting market.
That’s not wholly surprising — McGregor is the biggest star in the history of combat sports, while Cerrone is a UFC fan favorite.
Both fighters take a lot of public money, and big bettors have found good value in betting the other side.
But McGregor has already been bet down from -270 to -160 at PointsBet, as more than 2,200 bets have come in on the Irishman, and I would expect those odds to close at plus-money by fight time.
McGregor is going to look to finish this fight in the early stages and to make an explosive return to the octagon, and by all accounts, he’s entirely focused.
His showmanship and brashness have been lacking in the lead up to this bout, and he seems more committed to winning than selling pay-per-views.
Cerrone has more experience at Welterweight, and McGregor hasn’t earned a UFC victory since 2016. Still, Conor remains an unorthodox but extremely accurate striker who should be able to pick Cowboy apart.
Cerrone likes to brawl, but McGregor is not one to trade blows with.
Khabib’s gameplan is how you beat Conor — Cerrone will have the opposite approach.
I’ll be betting McGregor to win at PointsBet, as you won’t find better odds anywhere.
And I might play small stakes on Conor to win in Round 1 (+210) or Round 2 (+360) at juicier odds.
The Pick: Conor McGregor by Knockout
Other Bets at UFC 246
Holly Holm (-120) vs. Raquel Pennington (Bantamweight)
Holm (12-5 record) and Pennington (10-7 record) will compete in the co-main event, a rematch of their 2015 fight that saw Holm defeat Pennington by split decision.
Holm is coming off a loss against Amanda Nunes for the UFC bantamweight title, and she won’t have an easy time here against the grinding Pennington, a calculated striker and strong wrestler who will look to win on the scorecards.
Provided Pennington can avoid a stoppage and go the distance again (11 decisions in 17 career fights), she could have the upper hand as she owns the edge, offensively and defensively, in striking metrics.
Holm won their previous meeting via decision, but she’s also lost five of her past seven bouts and looks to be at the tail end of her career at 38 years of age.
I’ll take the fighter seven years her junior to gain redemption.
I will likely split a unit between Pennington’s moneyline (+108) and her odds to win by decision (+155).
The Pick: Raquel Pennington