UFC 246 Fight Card Preview
By Claudia Peterson
The first pay-per-view of the year, UFC 246 takes place tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The main event features the Notorious Conor McGregor (21-4) who returns to action after more than a year away.
He last fought in October of 2018, losing by submission to the still undefeated and current lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. McGregor will face Donald Cowboy Cerrone (36-13-1NC) at welterweight, a weight he has only fought at twice before, and where he is 1-1 with Nate Diaz.
It is interesting to see if Cowboy will chose to keep the fight on the feet, or if he will try to go for the takedown early in the fight in an effort to tire McGregor before getting a finish in the later rounds. As for McGregor, he has at least two good rounds to work with, and he will most likely be looking to knock Cerrone out early in the fight. Both men possess knockout power, and this can be anyone’s fight, despite what the odds are saying.
The co-main event is a rematch in the women’s bantamweight division between the veterans Holly Holm (12-5) and Raquel Pennignton (10-7).
They fought for the first time back at UFC 184 in 2015. The first fight was Holm’s UFC debut and she defeated Pennignton via split decision in a lackluster fight. Although time has passed, both fighters have not evolved a whole lot, though both are still elite fighters.
The often injured Pennington is coming off two losses, one against Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title and another to Germaine Germaine late.
Holm is coming off a title bid loss to Amanda Nunes, where she was finished by KO for the first time in her MMA career. Holm has always been able to capitalize on her striking, and this alone has kept her in safety in most of her fights.
For her part, Rocky Pennington is a very well rounded fighter who knows how to grind her opponent in a fight. Both women are in need of a win, so expect them both to fight cautiously and see this to the end of the 3rd round.
Aleksei Oleinik (57-13-1) will take on Maurice Greene (8-3) at heavyweight. This will be an opportunity for Green to continue to advance in the division. For his part, this might be one of the last times we see Oleinik inside the octagon. At 42 years old and with over 60 fights, it is not likely he will stay around for long.
A strawweight bout between Claudia Gadhelia (17-4) vs Alexa Grasso (11-3) was supposed to take place, but Grasso missed weight by 6.5 pounds. This spot was been replaced by a bantamweight bout between Brian Kelleher (19-10) vs Ode Osbourne (6-2-1NC).
A very interesting matchup between lightweight grapplers Anthony Pettis (22-9) vs Carlos Diego Ferreira (16-2) will open up the main card.
After going 1-1 at welterweight, Pettis returns once again to lightweight, in a fight that does not offer him much movement upwards if he were to get a win. This fight does more for his opponent Diego Ferreira, who has been on a great run and has won his last five fights. A win over the former lightweight champion could certainly put him on the map and towards title contention.
There are also a couple of interesting fights in the prelims. The veteran Roxanne Modafferi (23-16) takes on undefeated prospect Maycee Barber (8-0) in the featured prelim bout.
Maycee Barber has been on an incredible run, finishing all her fights by vicious TKO. Meanwhile, Modaferi manages to stay relevant by proving he is a true warrior and able to put on some tough fights. It will be interesting to see how the well experienced Modafferi fares against Barber, who comes in as a -1000 favorite.
Featherweights Andri Filli vs Sodiq Yussuf will also fight on the prelim card. This fight is one that really deserved a spot on the main card. Yussuf is on a five fight winning streak, while Fili is on a two fight winning streak. Both men are vying for a spot in the upper echelons of the featherweight rankings.