AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone

The man they call ‘Notorious’ returns to the octagon this weekend looking to prove to MMA fans that the best of him is yet to come. Conor McGregor is undoubtedly the biggest name in Mixed Martial Arts but the Irishman has made more headlines outside of the octagon rather than inside, in recent times.

The headlines have been largely negative and have affected his reputation, as a result. Inside the octagon hasn’t been much better, he hasn’t fought since his submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018 and it has been 38 months since his last UFC victory.

McGregor’s ability has never been in question. He is an extremely gifted athlete and carries, arguably, the most lethal left hand on the UFC roster. If we rewind a couple of years to 2015/2016 he was the hottest commodity in sport, not just MMA.

Defeats in MMA are not looked at as negatively as they are in other combat sports and the same went for McGregor’s defeat to Nurmagomedov. Fans can live with defeats, they come with the territory. However, what disappointed fans most was the manner in which
McGregor lost last time. He looked visibly demotivated, unfit and a shell of the former two weight world champion that once dominated the game.

However, something seems to have relit the flame in Conor McGregor. During the build-up to this fight, it seems that the ‘old’ Conor McGregor has returned. Still brash, still flashy, still the biggest attraction during fight week. But, this time he is focused and he needs to be.

The man who will stand across the octagon from him this weekend has seen it all before. There is nobody more experienced in the UFC than Donald Cerrone. ‘Cowboy’ is one of the most respected athletes on the roster and currently holds the record for most wins in the UFC, most knockdowns in the UFC and most finishes in the UFC.

Cerrone has always had a reputation of being a man that will fight anyone, anywhere at any weight. A lot of fighters in the UFC would be intimidated by the ‘McGregor show’ that is currently taking over Las Vegas but Cerrone is comfortable in the madness and will revel in his underdog status.

Despite what both fighters have achieved in years gone by, it is important to look at this fight on current form. McGregor, despite his inactivity, starts as the (1/3) favourite, which is understandable given the fact that Cerrone is coming off two damaging defeats inside the distance to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. The fight is also being fought at 170lbs, which is neither fighters natural weight class and the extra weight could be a major factor in the overall outcome.

Cerrone was stopped by punches in his last outing which doesn’t bode well coming into a fight with a guy who carries serious one punch knockout power. Despite the career Cerrone has had, he is now 36 and showing signs of slowing down. McGregor has a lot of things in his favour this weekend, including the extra weight which means he won’t have to endure a taxing weight cut during fight week.

Weighing up all outcomes, McGregor by KO/TKO (4/7) looks a very likely outcome here.

Looking a bit deeper into the round betting, there may be some value in backing McGregor to win in Round 1 (2/1). Cerrone has been taken out in the first round four times in his UFC career. Whilst, McGregor has won four times in the opening round during his UFC career.

Due to his recent history in MMA, McGregor needs to make a statement this weekend, which could result in him making a quick start. A statement first round knockout here for Conor McGregor is exactly what he needs to build momentum and kick start a busy and successful 2020.

The Future for Conor McGregor

In danger of overlooking this fight at the weekend, 2020 looks to be a huge year for Conor McGregor. He has his eyes on setting more records in the UFC. A third world title at welterweight would be a ground breaking achievement (he is 8/1 to do win the welterweight world title in 2020 here). To achieve that, he must take on a man who is unbeaten in seven years and the current UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (16/1 to be McGregor’s next opponent).

Outside of the ‘traditional’ world titles, a fight for the newly created ‘BMF’ Title is one that really excites fans. The current holder, Jorge Masvidal, has resurrected his career in recent times and is currently one of the most marketable athletes in the sport.

A fight with Masvidal has been spoken about for the summer and he is (5/2) to be McGregor’s next opponent. Also, if his interviews are anything to go by, the ‘BMF’ title is definitely something that interests the Irishman (He is currently 6/4 to win the BMF title in 2020).

Finally, the rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov is an event that would go down in MMA history. There could be several boundaries to overcome before getting the two men to share an octagon again but McGregor has expressed a willingness to travel to Moscow which could make things easier. The fight will happen again at some point, it is simply to big to avoid. We make Khabib (5/1) to be McGregor’s next opponent in 2020.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK McGregor to win by KO/TKO 3pts @ 4/7 with
BACK McGregor to win in Round 1 2pts @ 2-1 with

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