HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC 246

Frank Hyden MMATorch Columnist

UFC 246
January 18, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor celebrates his TKO victory against Donald Cerrone following UFC 246 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 246 was this past weekend and it featured the return of Conor McGregor, as he faced Donald Cerrone. Let’s get to the rundown.

HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC 246

UFC 246

GOOD- Carlos Diego Ferreira submits Anthony Pettis

The story of this fight was that Ferreira got Pettis down and kept him there. Pettis couldn’t escape and eventually submitted to a rear-naked choke a few minutes into the second round. Good win for Ferreira.

GOOD- Brian Kelleher submits Ode Osbourne

Kelleher got the fight to the ground and slapped on a guillotine to get the submission win not quite three minutes into the first round. Good win for Kelleher.

GOOD- Aleksei Oleinik submits Maurice Greene

Greene hit Oleinik with some big shots but this was all about the takedowns and grappling of Oleinik. He kept trying to submit Greene until he finally locked in an armbar and got the submission with about twenty seconds in the second round. Good win for Oleinik.

GOOD/BAD- Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington

This was a lot of clinchwork against the cage, which I usually don’t care for. The fight was just kind of meh. Holm used strategy to beat Pennington and get the decision, but it wasn’t the most entertaining thing ever. You got to do whatever it takes to get the win so I respect that but I’m not going to like it much. Nice win for Holm.

GOOD- Conor McGregor stops Donald Cerrone

McGregor landed a powerful headkick and followed that up with punches on the ground to get the stoppage forty seconds into the first round. I can see the headlines now, “McGregor is back!”, and that’s true. Of course, most people expected him to beat Cerrone. I’m surprised the betting line wasn’t higher for McGregor to win. I assume that’s because of the long layoff. However, Cerrone made it clear that he was going to stand and trade with McGregor instead of trying for the takedown and grappling to wear him down. That played right into what McGregor wants. Now, that’s also what fans want but it’s not the smartest strategy.

So part one of the Conor McGregor comeback tour is in the books. He wants to challenge UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in part three at the end of the year but part two remains unknown. Dana White doesn’t even want a part two, he said that McGregor’s next fight should be against Nurmagomedov. Tony Ferguson is currently scheduled to fight Nurmagomedov in April at UFC 249 so it’s not like McGregor-Nurmagomedov 2 could take place anytime soon anyway. So why make that fight next?

We all know the reason why, money. The UFC is greedy for more of that sweet McGregor cash. I have no problem with businesses trying to make money, but there’s a smart way to do it and a dumb way. The last time McGregor fought Nurmagomedov he got his ass kicked. Since then he’s had more legal troubles and fought once, this win over Cerrone. Almost everyone was picking McGregor to win this fight. Almost no one would pick McGregor to beat Nurmagomedov if they fought again. That doesn’t sound like a great way to make money to me.

Look, most people aren’t going to pick McGregor to beat Nurmagomedov no matter what. However, you’d be able to convince a few more if McGregor gets another win under his belt. At least then you can try to sell the idea that McGregor has learned from the first fight and that things will be different the next time. You can’t do that now.

Booking McGregor-Nurmagomedov 2 is basically banking on a bunch of people paying to see McGregor get his ass kicked again. He hasn’t been annoying enough to really get a bunch of people to do that. In order to sell the idea that McGregor has learned from the first fight and will make the necessary changes in order to win this time, he can’t be the brash idiot needed to be annoying enough to make people want to pay to see him get his ass kicked again. And the brash idiot isn’t believable enough to convince anyone that this time would be different.

Booking McGregor-Nurmagomedov 2 next would be a mistake. McGregor needs to win at least once more in order to make the fight more appealing. Yes, you run the risk of McGregor losing but the potential gains are worth it. The only way it would make sense is if Nurmagomedov loses to Ferguson at UFC 249. Then you give Nurmagomedov an opponent he can beat and he also looks vulnerable enough that a McGregor win doesn’t seem impossible. And whoever wins looks stronger heading into a title fight with Ferguson.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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UFC 246 LIVE REPORT: Real-time results and analysis of McGregor-Cerrone, Holm-Pennington

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