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Thread: UFC 246: McGregor / Cowboy

  1. #1 UFC 246: McGregor / Cowboy 
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    With this fight bringing in a lot more eyes and perhaps with that will come a lot more casual bettors, I wanted to do a breakdown of the Conor vs Cowboy fight. I know everyone is aware of Conor but maybe some aren't as familiar with Cerrone. Where I do think the vast majority of people will know what Cowboy is about, I want to go over each fighters styles, achievements, and what you could expect to see come fight night.

    Stats & Info:
    Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone:
    - Record: 36-13
    - Height: 6'0, Reach: 73"
    - Rounds Fought: 88.8
    - Most Knockdowns in UFC History (20)
    - Most UFC Wins (23)
    - Most UFC Finishes (16)
    - Finish Rate: 75%
    - Finished Rate: 53.8%
    - Avg Fight Length w/ Win: 8:17
    - Avg Fight Length w/ Loss: 11:10
    - 5th fight in one year

    Conor "Notorious" McGregor:
    - Record: 21-4
    - Height: 5'9, Reach: 74"
    - Rounds Fought: 32.2
    - Former Featherweight Champion
    - Former Lightweight Champion
    - Finish Rate: 85.7%
    - Finished Rate: 100%
    - Avg Fight Length w/ Win: 6:06
    - Avg Fight Length w/ Loss: 8:13
    - 1st fight since '18
    - 2nd fight since '16

    Strengths & Weaknesses:
    - Conors Strengths:
    - Boxing
    - Accuracy
    - Distance Management
    - Patience
    - Awareness
    - Mental Warfare
    - Conors Weaknesses:
    - Endurance
    - Grappling
    - Cowboys Strengths:
    - Kicks
    - Experience
    - Cardio / Conditioning
    - Grappling
    - Cowboys Weaknesses:
    - Lack of movement
    - Stubborn
    - Wear & Tear

    First thing we need to mention is that this fight is at Welterweight (170 pounds). Conor will have had more career UFC fights at WW(3) then UFC fights at LW(2) after January 18th. We saw Conor jump to 170 after previously beating Jose Aldo at 145 for the FW title. He was poised to take on Rafael Dos Anjos for the LW title when RDA pulled out due to an injury. Nate Diaz stepped in on 11 days notice and Conor / Nate agreed to fight at 170. Conor lost this bout due to rear-naked choke after gassing in the 2nd. We saw an immediate rematch at 170 where Conor won by Judges Decision. Cowboy started off his UFC career 16-4 at LW before moving up to WW after losing to RDA for the LW Title. Funny enough, this matchup between Conor and Cowboy could've happened much sooner. Had Cowboy beat RDA for the LW title, Conor would've then looked to face off against Cowboy. Instead, RDA won and was set to face Conor but like I mentioned above, got pulled due to an injury. Conor fought Nate twice, RDA came back and fought Eddie Alvarez and then Conor fought Alvarez for the LW Title. Oh, what could've been.

    Now let's talk about to what to expect in this matchup. Conor is notoriously known for his aggressive start where Cowboy is know for starting a little slow but picking up the pace as the fight goes on(think Nate Diaz-ish). Most people will say that Conor must knock out Cowboy in the first or 2nd to win, if not he will get drug into deep waters and start to fatigue. I think it is really important to note that when people(like myself) say that Conor has poor endurance, that it doesn't mean he's in poor shape. I highly doubt that Conor avoids cardiovascular exercises. While I am not near qualified to accurately tell you why Conor gets gassed, my assumption is that he is a fast twitch athlete. What is fast twitch and slow twitch? Fast Twitch muscle fibers contract quickly and helps with explosive type movements. Slow twitch muscle fibers do the opposite. Contract slowly but can go for an extended period of time. This is like a sprinter vs a long distance runner. A perfect example of this is Nate Diaz. He is a triathlete who takes part in tons of long distance activities. What we know from Diaz is that he picks up pace as he goes. This is going to be pretty similar to Cowboy. So, when people talk about the fact Conor needs to KO him early or else he could be get be in trouble might be accurate.

    I expect Conor to stick to his roots with his aggressive start to the fight. Trying to get the opponents to take back steps towards the fence with constant pressure. The special thing about Conor is that he is an absolute phenomenal counter puncher. However, unlike most counter punchers, he likes to be the aggressor. He put's constant pressure on you, forcing you to react to his pressure and then hitting you with a counter left. Conor can not let Cowboy get comfortable in this fight. We've seen Conor come out in unique ways to start his fights. Versus Chad Mendes Conor immediately threw a spinning back kick, followed with a flying knee. When he fought Nate Diaz the 1st time, he was immediately looking for the heel kick. He mentioned post fight that he felt doing those explosive movements ultimately hurt him more than anything because it made him more fatigued. Not sure we will see that aggressive approach from him but it's interesting to note. Conor's unique karate like stance allows for an opening for inside leg kicks and the front snap kick. Once Cowboy gets comfortable and starts landing his kick/punch combinations, the pace will only start to increase for Cowboy and that's not a good thing for Conor. I think very early we will see Cowboy try to utilize the inside leg kicks and leg kicks to the body and if Conor responds with a solid counter, this will put "fear" in Cowboy. When I say fear, I don't mean that Cowboy is genuinely afraid of Conor, but it will make him aware of Conor's abilities at the beginning of the fight. It will make him less comfortable and less confident. Conor has shown a little vulnerability when it comes to those inside leg kicks in the very small sample we've seen him face. Versus Eddie Alvarez, Eddie actually hit Conor with a couple inside leg kicks very early in that fight, even getting Conor off his balance to where he stumbled on the canvas. If you look back to his fight against Dennis Siver, Conor was hit with an inside leg kick that made him drop to the floor but his awareness allowed him to roll away and regain the distance. Neither one of these guys are on the same level as Cowboy when it comes to kicking.

    I listed "lack of movement" and "stubborn" as a weakness for Cerrone. Cowboy is your classic muay thai, stand and bang fighter. I hit you, you hit me. "You're stiff as a board, I'd snap you in half." I'm sure you've heard that before. Conor said this to Cowboy leading up to the RDA fight. Conor is not wrong when he says this. If you look at a lot of Cowboys fights, if he starts getting hit he doesn't move out of the way. He stands in and throws punches back. It's a large reason why he has been a fan favorite for so long. The dude is a warrior and want's to put on a show at all times. Sometimes this has it's advantages but when you face an elite striker like Conor who doesn't possess a ton of power or a ton of speed, but is deadly accurate and his timing is top notch... you could be in some trouble.

    Now, Cowboy truthfully has a very solid ground game. I put grappling as a strength for Cowboy and that's wrestling and BJJ. He absolutely has the ability to shoot for the high double leg take down and submit you. The issue with Cerrone is like I said above, he loves to stand and bang and put on a show. Will Cowboy look to put on a show like he said he would? Or will he look to make Conor extremely uncomfortable from the get go and shoot for take down after take down? I lean the former. I anticipate Conor coming out and having a ton of success early. I think he gets Cowboy really uncomfortable and we see 1-2 knock downs from Conor in the 1st. Conor puts on a master style performance similar to his showing vs Alvarez. Now, will Cowboy make it out of the first? We could see Cerrone get KO'd in the first and it's all over. This is a guy who has the most fights in UFC history, this will be his 5th fight in one year, and lost his last 2 fights by KO / TKO. This does matter. Where being active is generally a good thing, for a guy with as much wear and tear as Cowboy, fighting 5 times in one year and especially after 2 KO/TKO losses is always a tough going. Especially vs a guy like Conor who will hit you if you try and bang wit him.

    If Cerrone gets out of the 1st, this is where I think things could get interesting. Could we see the same thing we saw vs Eddie where Alvarez comes out in the 2nd with the same game plan from the 1st and gets picked apart? We absolutely could. But I also think we would hear Cowboys coach Joe Schilling instructing him to look for takedown openings from the jump and be extremely aggressive on the leg kicks.

    Conor has a very high fighting IQ. When you fight a bigger opponent, specifically wrestlers, you want to wear them down through body shots. If you watch the Usman vs Colby fight, Usman started to really have success when he was able to land consistent body shots on Colby. Wearing him down shot after shot. This is what Conor does just as good as anyone. We will see Conor utilize body shots often in this bout. Specifically his front snap kick to the body has been extremely effective for Conor.

    There are a tons of ways this bout can go and I hope all the people who are watching for the first time or maybe for the first time since the last Conor fight, enjoy it. We have a couple nice up and comers on the prelims that I'm excited to see. Hope this was useful to some and I will have all picks up for the full card when we get a little closer!
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  2. #2  
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    Brian Kelleher +125

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  3. #3  
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    Holly Holm -135

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  4. #4  
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    4-1 +3.25 units

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    Fun night of fights! Conor looked great !
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