Even though he has not won a mixed martial arts (MMA) fight in more than three years, the former “champ-champ,” Conor McGregor, can still draw a huge crowd and sell an insane amount of tickets, returning tonight (Sat., Jan. 18, 2020) at UFC 246 against the winningest fighter in the promotion’s history, Donald Cerrone. There was no belt on the line, but the five-round Welterweight pay-per-view (PPV) main event had future Lightweight title implications hanging in the balance.
Despite his historic success inside the Octagon, few were giving “Cowboy” much of a chance to topple “Notorious.” In fact, company President Dana White even escalated the situation to “disrespectful” levels in the build up to the 170-pound showdown. That’s because Cerrone — who struggles with Southpaw fighters — was viewed as a “tune up,” a popular and successful veteran who could get McGregor back on professional track after a tumultuous 15-month stint outside the Octagon.
And that’s exactly how it played out once the cage door closed, with McGregor nailing Cerrone with a barrage of strikes — shoulder strikes, knees, head kick, ground-and-pound — en route to a violent finish in less than one minute (HIGHLIGHTS). It was so fast and furious that “Cowboy” didn’t even really have a chance to make a bad decision.
McGregor came out with a huge left-handed haymaker that grazed Cerrone, setting the violent tone early. Cerrone attempted to collect himself, but McGregor got a hold of him, nailing him with hard, repeated shots to the nose/face with his shoulder. The odd strikes bothered Cerrone, who back up along the cage and ate a huge head kick that rocked him hard. McGregor pounced immediately, realizing how badly his opponent was hurt. Cerrone tried to roll out of danger, but it was clear he could not intelligently defend himself. And moments later, referee Herb Dean was pulling off McGregor.
McGregor didn’t even break a sweat or mess up his grease-back hair. It was a clean, clinical performance from one of the best in the business.
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