UFC 246 is in the books! Though some felt this card was thin, there weren’t very many people disinterested in watching the main event. Even those who didn’t care for the matchmaking had to admit the match-up between ‘Cowboy’ and ‘Notorious’ was a lot of fun. The celebrity turnout for this event would reflect that widely shared sentiment. Join us as we break down the entire main card of this blockbuster event fight-by-fight!
UFC 246 Main Card Recap
Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone
In the first UFC event of 2020 and quite possibly the biggest card of the year, fan favorite Donald Cerrone faced off against global superstar, Conor McGregor. In the lead up to this fight, McGregor was uncharacteristically calm and reserved. Many speculated that this behavior would carry on into his performance in a negative fashion. This couldn’t have been any further from reality.
Once the fight began, McGregor immediately went on the attack with a straight left. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Cowboy slipped the punch and clinched up with McGregor. From this position, McGregor changed levels and began landing rapid upward shoulder strikes to Cerrone’s face. Within seconds, Cerrone’s nose was bleeding and potentially broken. McGregor then threw a knee that would separate both men from the clinch. Face spattered with blood, Cerrone backed up and threw a body kick at McGregor. It didn’t land successfully. The Irishman returned fire with a head kick of his own. It landed flush and staggered ‘Cowboy‘. Seeing an opportunity to finish the fight, McGregor charged at Cerrone with a flying knee that partially landed.
The End of the Fight
McGregor continued the attack by throwing punches as Cerrone crumbled to the ground. As the heavy shots continued to rain down, Herb Dean implored ‘Cowboy’ to fight back. But it was too late. After giving Cerrone every opportunity he could to recover, referee Herb Dean had no choice but to wave off the bout. Donald Cerrone was done and Conor McGregor had just turned in a flawless performance. Conor McGregor defeated Donald Cerrone via TKO at 40 seconds in the very first round.
After displaying enthusiasm with his magnetic personality during the post-fight octagon interview with Joe Rogan, it became immediately clear that McGregor had just breathed some much needed life into the UFC. If we are to believe McGregor, we could see two or three more fights from him before the end of the year. If Conor McGregor sticks to this goal, and Jon Jones continues to win and stay active, 2020 could be an amazing year for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Holly Holm vs Raquel Pennington
Since they originally fought to a split-decision back in 2015, Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington have both fought for UFC gold. Holm famously knocked out Ronda Rousey to become the women’s bantamweight champion. She also had failed title bids against Germaine de Randamie, Cris Cyborg, and Amanda Nunes. Pennington also fought Nunes for the bantamweight title and she lost via fifth round TKO.
In their rematch, we saw Holly Holm successfully work Pennington in the clinch. Holm’s clinch and grappling work have noticeably developed in recent years. She’s surprisingly strong in these positions and her strength has proven to be a formidable trait against her opponents. In the end, this match-up would go the full three rounds once again. However, this time, Holm won much more convincingly than she did the first go. Holly Holm defeated Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision.
Aleksei Oleinik vs Maurice Greene
Former TUF bad boy and knockout artist Maurice Greene was looking to rebound from his first UFC loss after going 3-0 to start with the promotion. His opponent would be the king of the Ezekiel choke, Aleksei Oleinik.
The fight would hit the ground in the first round with Oleinik in top position. Despite this being a nightmare of a place for anybody in the UFC to be in, Greene threw up triangle choke attempts and successful defended against all of Oleinik’s submission attempts in the first round. Greene even looked to be on the verge of being another victim of the Ezekiel choke, but he refused to quit. Greene showed this same heart in the second round, but he was ultimately forced to tap due to a painful armbar submission. Aleksei Oleinik defeated Maurice Greene via armbar submission at 4:38 in round two. This victory marks his 46th career submission.
Brian Kelleher vs Ode Osbourne
‘The Jamaican Sensation’ Ode Osbourne predicted that UFC 246 would eventually be known as the Ode Osbourne card that Conor McGregor had fought on. The fifth and sixth grade math teacher exuded confidence. ‘I am the Picasso of MMA and whatever I say, I do it.’ Including his armbar victory on the Contender Series, Osbourne appeared to have held true to that statement in his last four fights.
Standing across from Osbourne would be the heavy-handed self-proclaimed ‘best rapper in the UFC,’ Brian Kelleher. (He arguably is the best rapper. If you haven’t heard him, check out his social media.)
The rapper, scrapper, and New Yorker was able to get a submission victory against the confident and dangerous Osbourne. Brian Kelleher defeated Ode Osbourne via guillotine choke at 2:49 of the very first round. He snapped a two fight losing streak with the victory and quite possibly saved his job in the UFC—not a bad way to win on a major PPV event.
As for Ode Osbourne, he may become a star in the future–he certainly has the personality to do so. But for now, it’s back to the drawing board.
Anthony Pettis vs Diego Ferreira
Aiming to rebound from his high-profile loss to Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis decided to drop back to lightweight for this fight. Diego Ferreira would be standing in his way with the momentum of a five-fight winning streak. That pattern of victories continued straight through UFC 246 as Ferreira defeated Pettis via rear naked choke/neck crank submission in the second round. After Pettis tapped out, Ferreira stood up and walked away with a noticeable limp. In his post-fight interview, Ferreira told Joe Rogan that he felt something pop during the fight. Hopefully for Ferreira, the injury isn’t too serious. We already saw one severe knee injury earlier on in the fight card.