After a 14-month layoff, Conor McGregor makes his much anticipated return to the octagon Saturday night in Vegas for a welterweight tilt against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
For starters – this is phenomenal matchmaking by Dana White. McGregor and Cowboy are both fan favorites with cult-like followings of their own. Both fighters are ridiculously entertaining and have a history of finishing fights with over 20 stoppages between the two. There’s not a doubt in my mind this will be an entertaining fight and one for the ages.
Need more background? Check out the highlights of Thursday’s press conference.
“I’m fuckin’ here to have a good time. Like Conor said, we’re entertainers man, we’re here to fuckin’ entertain and blow the roof off this bitch.”
That’s all you need to know.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?
McGregor’s moneyline is sitting at -335 while Cerrone’s is going off at +260. For me, -335 on McGregor is a little steep. I think McGregor still has some of the best stand-up in the UFC even with taking 14 months off. Combine that with the knowledge that Cowboy is a notoriously slow starter and I’d be more intrigued by a McGregor stoppage in rounds one or two at +190 and +410 respectively.
On the flip side, I like Cerrone’s stand up and ability to finish in all ways whether it be punches, kicks or through a submission any time he fights. A Cowboy finish by submission is going off at +550 and a KO/TKO/DQ at +750. It’s worth noting Cowboy has six finishes by submission and 10 by KO/TKO, in his UFC career.
Quite possibly the most intriguing bet for the fight is McGregor winning the fight by decision at +800. Here’s why: There’s no way Cerrone will win a decision. It would take five rounds of complete dominations the likes of which have never been seen in a McGregor fight for Cerrone to win the fight on two judge’s score cards. I’m not calling the UFC crooked – I’m noting that if it goes to the judge’s scorecard I’m calling it a mortal lock for the Notorious one. So, if you think Cerrone can circle away from McGregor’s left and make the fight go the full 25 minutes, this is a very enticing bet.
My pick? Too close to call. I, for sure, wouldn’t touch either of the moneyline’s for this one. My top three choices are a first round stop from McGregor, the McGregor decision or Cerrone by submission.
The other fights:
Holly Holm (-137) vs. Raquel Pennington (+110)
A rematch of a 2015 fight which Holm won via split decision. The similarities don’t stop there as they both share a knockout loss to current women’s juggernaut Amanda Nunes.
I like Pennington here. She only has two of her six UFC wins by stoppage so her moneyline at +110 or decision at +162 both look good. Pennington by submission is going off at +1400, too.
For the Holm stans of the world, her odds are +105 for a decision, +600 for KO/TKO/DQ and +2200 for a submission. If you’re looking for a longshot, Holm +600 for the knockout isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Anthony Pettis (+195) vs. Diego Ferreira (-250)
If you’re into trends, Pettis hasn’t lost back-t0-back fights since he dropped three in a row to Rafael dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez and Edson Barboza in 2015-16. He’s coming off a loss to Nate Diaz, for what it’s worth.
Ferreira is riding a five fight win streak dating back to 2015. He hasn’t beaten a household name yet and while Pettis is far from the fighter he was when he was the champ in 2013, he’s still Showtime. I’d hit the Showtime moneyline at +195.
Roxanne Modafferi (+600) vs. Maycee Barber (-1000)
This one’s my personal longshot. Modafferi’s been in the game since 2003 and her last two losses were to fighters who missed weight. Not saying it’s an excuse but it’s worth noting. Barber is undefeated and only one of her fight’s has gone the distance.
In this case I like the savvy veteran over the young stud, especially at +600.