Credit: Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

During the turn of the decade, one of the most anticipated match-ups is upon us for UFC 246. Conor McGregor will face off against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and with two legends in the same octagon, it will be the MMA fight of the year. Returning after a two-year hiatus, fans are keen to see Cowboy take to the ring but as anybody knows, McGregor is ready for a fiery fight.

The bets are well and truly on for who will leave the octagon as champion, with these Australian and New Zealand top UFC athletes making their own predictions.

Israel Adesanya – UFC middleweight champion
“I feel Conor is in for a tough fight, but he has to make it look easy to win. He hasn’t done as much media and he is refocused as I’ve seen. Cowboy has been fighting so much lately which is good, but coming off 2 losses… we’ll see how that is for him because he has nothing to lose. My bet, Conor by TKO.”

Alex Volkanovski – UFC featherweight champion
“I’ll have to go with Conor. I believe that if it stays on the feet and as much of a fan as I am of Donald, I think Conor gets the win. Conor’s timing/ accuracy and his explosiveness will get him the finish inside the first two rounds.”

Robert Whittaker – No.1 UFC middleweight
“I think this is a picture perfect fight for Conor’s return. Stylistically, it suits him to a tee. That’s not saying Cowboy can’t win, he’s an amazing fighter and has been much more active. I just think this is a good fight for Conor.”

Kai Kara-France – No. 8 UFC flyweight
“Conor by TKO in round 2. I feel like the old Conor is back. He’s motivated, focused and looking sharp. I think Cowboy will give him a good first round but Conor will welcome the chaos and find a way to put him away in the second.”

Dan Hooker – No. 7 UFC lightweight
“Conor TKO.”

Brad Riddell – UFC lightweight
“I reckon Connor will knock Cowboy out if he returns to the cage as his former self. The last time Conor carried himself at 170 he seemed to gas a bit more than usual – maybe he wasn’t used to the weight and now he is, we’ll find out.”

Tai Tuivasa – UFC heavyweight
“I think it’s going to be a great fight, two great fighters. Cowboy has been much more active and I think he’ll come away with the win. The fight may go the distance or Cowboy will finish him in the 4th round.”

Jake Matthews – UFC welterweight
“I’m going to pick McGregor by unanimous decision. I can see a close stand up exchange in the first round, Cowboy’s leg kicks will start to slow down McGregor. From there, McGregor will start to look for take downs and close the distance to clinch and grind out the fight for the decision.”

The fight will be available live on PPV this Sunday, January 19. Stay tuned.