Conor McGregor is officially back in the win column with an impressive first-round TKO win over Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in the main event of UFC 246.
There were no belts on the line for The Notorious on Saturday in Las Vegas, but rest assured the memorable win will set up the former champion with another megafight his next time out.
The result wasn't shocking, but the way he got there was. McGregor started his onslaught with shoulder strikes from the clinch that appeared to break Cowboy's nose and served as the beginning of the end.
It was the most lopsided loss of Cowboy's career:
Michael Carroll @MJCflipdascript
Donald Cerrone officially connected with zero strikes vs. Conor McGregor. The only other time in his UFC/WEC career where he connected with zero strikes was his WEC debut in 2007, a 56-second submission of Kenneth Alexander that was later overturned due to a drug test. #UFC246
After more than a year away from the Octagon, the UFC's biggest draw needed a win and did not disappoint. Following McGregor's fourth-round submission loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov his last time out, the world is once again the Irishman's for the taking when it comes to big fights.
Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman was in the audience for McGregor's post-fight interview in which he was confident in doing bigger things in 2020:
The quick result gives McGregor the opportunity for a quick turnaround. Whether it be against Usman or Jorge Masvidal, the Irishman will once again be a massive storyline this year.
Pay-per-view Main Card
- Conor McGregor defeated Donald Cerrone via TKO at 0:40 of R1
- Holly Holm defeated Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x 2)
- Aleksei Oleinik defeated Maurice Greene via submission (armbar) at 4:38 of R2
- Brian Kelleher defeated Ode Osbourne via submission (guillotine) at 2:49 of R1
- Diego Ferreira defeated Anthony Pettis via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:46 of R2
- Roxanne Modafferi defeated Maycee Barber via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 30-26)
- Sodiq Yusuff defeated Andre Fili via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
- Askar Askarov defeated Tim Elliott via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
- Drew Dober defeated Nasrat Haqparast via TKO at 1:10 of R1
Fight Pass Prelims
- Aleksa Camur defeated Justin Ledet via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
- Sabina Mazo defeated JJ Aldrich via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington
What's best for Holly Holm might not be best for the audience. That much was evident in her unanimous-decision win over Raquel Pennington in the co-main event.
Holm is a strong striker with a professional boxing background, but you couldn't have told that from her fight with Rocky. She spent most of the fight with her opponent pinned against the cage and building a lead on the scorecards.
The conservative approach won't win her fans, but the truth is she needed a win here regardless of how entertaining it was.
Holm has had a mediocre record in the UFC, but she hasn't lost to anyone who isn't a champion. A loss to Pennington would have changed that and likely ended any aspirations the 38-year-old had of competing for a title again.
After this fight, she might not have a great shot at getting to a title, but she's still in a much better place than she would have been with a loss to Pennington.
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Maurice Greene
Age is merely a number, and it apparently has no bearing on whether you can tie someone up in knots if you're Aleksei Oleinik.
At 42 years old, he earned his 47th career submission win. That's not total wins. That's just the wins via submission. Once again, his crafty grappling skills were on display as he found a way to end his fight with Maurice Greene via armbar in the second round.
Greene tried his hand at grappling with the prolific Russian. He attempted a triangle choke of his own twice, but he couldn't beat Oleinik at his own game.
The loss is a big blow for the Crochet Boss. He now has two losses in a row after starting his UFC career 3-0. Of course, if he has anywhere near the longevity of his opponent, the 33-year-old will have plenty of time to get his career back on track.
Ode Osbourne vs. Brian Kelleher
Blink and you missed something in Brian Kelleher's first-round submission win over Ode Osbourne.
Osbourne looked to take the early lead in the fight. He showcased some quickness and speed in throwing some flashy strikes to start the match, but it didn't take Kelleher long to score a takedown and impose his own will.
The submission specialist locked in a guillotine choke from top position and forced Osbourne to tap out with his foot.
The win snaps a two-fight losing streak for Kelleher. Osbourne, however, was defeated in his UFC debut. After a successful appearance on Dana White's Contender Series, it was a disappointing turn of events for the Jamaican prospect.
Anthony Pettis vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira
The blueprint for beating Anthony Pettis has been well-established at this point. Enough forward pressure, and Showtime wilts. Carlos Diego Ferreira became the latest fighter to successfully execute that plan against Pettis.
Ferreira pressed the action from the beginning. He came forward with jabs and clearly wanted to put Pettis on the fence. Showtime actually countered well on the feet, but when the Brazilian took things to the ground, it was the beginning of the end for the former champion.
Pettis was able to get back to his feet in the first frame and get back to striking. That wasn't the case in the second round.
Ferreira took his opponent down and muscled him into a rear-naked choke that drew the tap in just under two minutes into the second frame.
It was a big win for the Brazilian to kick off the main card. His win streak now moves to six and features a former champion. Bigger things are yet to come for the 35-year-old.