Have you heard about the SaltWire News app?
Black teenager launches racial justice project in Nova Scotia
Daily fall forecasts and weather facts from Cindy Day
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
SaltWire Selects: Our arts and entertainment picks
What you need to know about COVID-19: September 25, 2020
LAS VEGAS – Conor McGregor and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone are both promising to stand in the middle of the octagon and throw punches and kicks at each other until one of them goes down.
Whether that’s the best strategy for either of them to actually win is really besides the point, and yes, we know by now that the best laid plans tend to go awry once the bell rings and the two men or women locked in the octagon together actually start to fight.
But anyone expecting Cerrone to simply take the fight to the ground and try to use his superior jiu-jitsu to submit McGregor is likely going to be disappointed.
“All of you analysts and experts who are asking these questions, you’d be f—ing stupid to think this guy doesn’t have wrestling defence or some sort of grappling defence,” Cerrone said. “For me to just walk in there and think ‘All I’m gonna do is take him down and submit him?’ Get a real f—ing life, man.”
Vegas bookies had McGregor listed as a -300 favourite late on Friday afternoon, and Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Adam Hill said there had been a rush of bettors putting their money on Cerrone late in the week.
Most breakdowns of how the fight might go have focused on the fact that McGregor is historically a fast starter, while Cerrone is the opposite. If Cerrone can survive the first couple rounds, most analysts expect Cerrone to have superior cardio that should give him an advantage through the third, fourth and fifth rounds.
Surviving those opening rounds is no easy task, though, especially if Cerrone is fixed on standing with McGregor.
The Irishman seems to believe that Cerrone is true to his word, although he did heap a little additional pressure on his opponent to keep the fight standing in an Instagram post last weekend where he wrote “First person to shoot (for a takedown) is a cowb—-.”
It’s as close as these guys have come to talking trash in the buildup to this fight, but it also emphasized how badly everyone involved wants to see a straight-up fistfight.
“Was just having a little fun with him,” McGregor said. “I know Donald’s saying ‘I’m not going to shoot’ but let’s see what happens on the night. Just playing games, it’s going to be a good bout and I’m excited.”
We won’t be seeing Claudia Gadelha and Alexa Grasso squaring off on Saturday night.
On Friday morning, Grasso stepped on the scales at the UFC 246 official weigh-ins and came in at 121.5 lb., a full 5.5 lb. above the strawweight limit.
In Nevada, the maximum a fighter is allowed to miss weight by is 3 lbs., so the fight was automatically cancelled.
That’s hugely disappointing, as the Gadelha-Grasso matchup was one of the more intriguing fights on Saturday night’s undercard. Gadelha is a former title challenger and has won two of her past three fights, while Grasso has had an up-and-down start to her UFC career but is still only 26 years old and should have a bright future.
Later on Friday afternoon, Gadelha issued a statement on Instagram in which she expressed her disappointment at the cancellation.
“I worked so hard for this and I was so excited to put (on) a show for you all tomorrow, but unfortunately my fight isn’t gonna happen because my opponent missed weight by 5.5 pounds. I still wanted the fight because I’m a bad b—-,” Gadelha wrote.
Anyone questioning whether McGregor is still a huge draw should likely note that the Pearl Theatre at the MGM Park Casino and Resort was completely sold out – 5,000 seats – for Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins. No, it wasn’t as crazy as what we came to expect from McGregor events during his meteoric rise, but the guy still draws … Chuck Liddell finally got his UFC Hall-of-Fame jacket. He’s been in the hall since 2009, but the company seems to be actively trying to deliver these jackets to guys who haven’t received them. “I saw the guys getting them a couple shows ago and I was like ‘Damn, I didn’t get one,’ “ Liddell said …This is probably only interesting to reporters who cover the never-on-time McGregor, but he made a real effort to be more punctual this week. He was still half an hour late for his Thursday media availability and caused Friday’s ceremonial weigh-ins to be delayed by 25 minutes, but that’s a real improvement over what we’ve gotten used to … It is genuinely disarming how much Nasrat Haqparast resembles veteran middleweight Kelvin Gastelum … It appears that middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will be defending his belt against Yoel Romero in March at UFC 248, according to multiple reports. It doesn’t necessarily make sense that Romero’s getting a title shot – he’s lost his last two fights – but it doesn’t appear like there’s another obvious, healthy opponent available for Adesanya at the moment.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020