After a three-week hiatus for the holiday season, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns for the first show of 2020 and the first of two consecutive weekends with an event to begin the year.
Saturday, the UFC returns to its homebase of Las Vegas and the T-Mobile Arena for the first pay-per-view event of the decade, UFC 246.
Coverage of UFC 246 begins on ESPNews this Saturday at 5 p.m. EST, 2 p.m. PST with a pre-show edition of ESPN’s weekly UFC studio show, UFC Live, before shifting over to ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass for the early prelims of UFC 246 at 6:15 p.m. EST, 3:15 p.m. PST.
Late prelims air at 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST on ESPN proper, following the network’s telecast of the ACC basketball game between No. 11 Louisville and No. 3 Duke.
The game could possibly run over its allotted running time and the late prelims might be moved to another ESPN channel.
Finally, the main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. PST.
Preorders are accepted through ESPN+.
If you wish to watch UFC 246 at a bar, access www.bars.ufc.com and enter your ZIP code. From there, you’ll see a list of confirmed and unconfirmed bars in your area for the event. For unconfirmed bars, just call ahead.
Highlighting UFC 246 is a showcase fight at Welterweight between two of the UFC’s top Lightweight contenders.
No. 4 Lightweight contender Conor McGregor (21-4) will meet No. 5 Lightweight contender (36-13, one no-contest) in a five-round main event. No championship is at stake this weekend.
Heading into Saturday night’s main event, Donald Cerrone is the taller contender at 6-foot-1, four inches taller than Conor McGregor at 5-foot-9.
McGregor has posted a record of 3-2 in his last five fights, most recently losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October of 2018 (fourth-round submission- rear-naked choke). After the fight, a brawl ensued between Nurmagomedov and McGregor, which resulted in both fighters receiving lengthy suspensions.
Conor McGregor was fined $50,000 and suspended six months retroactive to Oct. 6, with Khabib Nurmagomedov getting a nine-month retroactive ban and a $500,000 fine.
The bans could have been lessened if either fighter agreed to shoot a televised public service announcement concerning anti-bullying. Neither fighter would shoot the commercial.
Cerrone, the winningest fighter of all-time in the UFC, has also posted a 3-2 record in his last five fights and enters Saturday’s main event on a two-fight losing streak. Last time out, he was defeated by Justin Gaethje (first-round knockout) back on Sept. 14 during UFC on ESPN+ 16 in Vancouver, BC during the main attraction.
Gaethje scored the $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus that evening for his efforts.
The Tale of the Tape
UFC.com shows that Conor McGregor has a one-inch reach advantage (74 inches to 73 inches) with Donald Cerrone having a half-inch reach advantage (40.5 inches to 40 inches) heading into the fight.
Prediction: Conor McGregor by unanimous decision.
Other fights on Saturday night’s main card include
No. 3 contender Holly Holm (12-5) vs. No. 5 contender Raquel Pennington (10-8) [Women’s Bantamweight, co-main event]
No. 12 contender Aleksei Oleinik (57-12-1) vs. Maurice Greene (8-4) [Heavyweight]
Ode Osbourne (8-2) vs. Brian Kelleher (19-10) [Bantamweight]
No. 9 contender Anthony Pettis (22-9) vs. Diego Ferreira (16-2) [Lightweight]
There’s been one alteration to the event:
No. 6 contender Claudia Gadelha (16-4) vs. No. 11 Alexa Grasso (11-2) [Strawweight] was canceled due to Grasso failing to make the 115-lb maximum weight at Friday’s weigh-in.
UFC 246 at a Glance (all times Saturday)
Early Prelims: 6:15 p.m. EST, 3:15 p.m. PST, ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass
ESPN Prelims: 8 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. PST, ESPN [following college basketball]
Main Card: 10 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. PST, ESPN+ pay-per-view
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