Ladies and gentlemen, as the legendary Bruce Buffer would say, IT’S TIIIIIIIIIIIME!
UFC 285 Jones vs Gane is finally here. The third PPV UFC fight of the year – and boy is this one a banger. The first PPV this year in the US will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday night!
Since Dana White announced this fight in January and the whole MMA world has been anticipating the long awaited return of the controversial, yet certified GOAT that is Jon Jones (as if that fight alone isn’t enough for me to purchase UFC 285). Before we get to the main event, we have a stacked card that also features the deadly Valentina Shevchenko defending her women’s flyweight belt for the 8th-straight time against the number 6th ranked contender, Alexa Grasso.
We get Geoff Neal vs Shavkat Rakhmonov, Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner, and one of the most impressive young rising stars in the UFC – Bo Nickal getting his first true test in Jamie Pickett. Hell, you know this card is stacked when the likes of Cody Garbrandt, Derek Brunson, and Amanda Ribas are on the prelims! With a card like this, it is very easy to bet every fight, but personally, I’ll make my picks and enjoy this action packed card that should be as competitive as it sounds.
Mateusz Gamrot vs Jalin Turner
Let’s start our night with a ranked lightweight bout featuring the number 7 ranked fighter Mateusz Gamrot vs the number 10 ranked Jalin Turner. Originally this fight was supposed to be Dan Hooker vs Jalin Turner but Hooker had to drop out of the fight, so in comes Gamrot. Gamrot is taking this fight on 3 weeks notice so I can’t imagine he was able to get a full camp in. After the war he had with Beneil Darius in October of last year that resulted in a loss via unanimous decision, Gamrot is looking to get back into that win column and continue his rise up the lightweight ranks. Jalin Turner on the other hand is coming into this fight on a 5 fight win streak, with all of those fights ending in the first and second rounds via submission and KO. After Turner made the cut down to 155 he has been on a tear in this lightweight division.
Turner will be coming into this fight with a massive 7-inch reach advantage and for a striker like Turner, that has to be a massive advantage. The question is, will he be able to stop the takedowns coming his way that Gamrot is relentless with? Turner will most likely be taken down multiple times in this fight, but if he can find a way to get back to his feet while minimizing the damage on the ground he will have the advantage on the feet. I like the dog here in Turner to get the win and become a legit contender in this juggernaut of a division.
My Pick: A unit on Jalin Turner (+172) to win this fight.
Valentina Shekchenko vs Alexa Grasso
As I alluded to earlier, Valentina “The Bullet” Shevchenko will put her women’s flyweight belt on the line for a ridiculously impressive 8th time when she steps foot in the octagon this Saturday night. After claiming the strap in 2018, Valentina has been on a tear like no other, running through the best of UFC’s women’s 125 weight class. Shevchenko is coming off one of her toughest fights yet when Talia Santos took her the distance in a back-and-forth war last year that resulted in a split decision that favored the champ. Alexa Grasso is coming into this fight off of a 4-fight win streak after making the jump to 125 and is clearly looking to dethrone the queen of flyweights.
Unfortunately, I don’t think Grasso stands a chance against Shevchenko. Especially after hearing Dana White already began eyeing Shevchenko’s next opponent – the well deserved rematch with Talia Santos or rising star Erin Blanchfield. We are looking at light work for Valentina Shevchenko, with her getting the victory by KO or sub.
My Pick: A unit on Valentina Shevchenko ITD (-150).
Jon Jones vs Cyril Gane
Finally, the fight we have all been waiting for. Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Cyril Gane for the vacant UFC heavyweight championship. It has now been 3 years since we have been blessed to witness Jones in the octagon, so many may not be familiar with his resume – allow me to fill you in.
Jon made his UFC debut in 2008 with nothing short of one of the best runs in UFC history. He was the youngest champion when he knocked out legendary Mauricio Shogun Rua in 2011. After claiming the UFC light heavyweight belt, Jones then went on an insane run, defeating hall of famers such as Rampage Jackson, Lyota Machida, Rashad Evans, and Daniel Cormier. Jones’s career isn’t the most glamorous as he’s faced multiple run-ins with the law and wild party boy antics. Jones at his prime was considered unbeatable and to be honest, the baddest mother fucker on the planet.
That said, Jones has not fought for over 3 years. During this off time, he’s dedicated himself to jumping up from light heavyweight to heavyweight which is a significant difference with the light heavyweight max being 205 and heavyweight max of 265. We are talking about a 60-lb jump here – the biggest weight differential between divisions in the UFC. The biggest question remains unanswered – What is this version of Jon going to look like? Let’s not forget to mention the absolute savage in Cyril Gane, who he will be facing Saturday night at T-mobile arena.
Cyril Gane, is now 8-1 in the UFC with his only loss being to Francis Ngannou in a 5 round decision. Gane is a straight up gangster in his own right. Cyril’s kickboxing is world class with the rare combination of speed and power for the heavyweight division. Although Gane doesn’t have the resume of Jones, I believe he is ready for this fight and is going to impress a lot of people with his slick kickboxing and relentless pace. Dana White, Sean Shelby, and the UFC have really outdone themselves with this match. Needless to say, get ready for a fantastic fight.
My Picks: 3 units on Jones to win the fight (-172) and sprinkle a unit on Jones by submission (+600).
Best Parlay Plays for UFC 285
If you’re looking to parlay some plays, here are two to consider sprinkling a half unit on.
- Farid Basharat
- Ian Garry ITD
- Brunson / Du Plessis DNGD
- Bo Nickal ITD
- Shavkat Rakhmonov
- Valentina Shevchenko
- Mana Martinez
- Ian Garry
- Dricus Du Plessis
- Viviane Araujo
- Bo Nickal
*DNGD – Fight will not go to judge’s score card*
*ITD – Fighter will win via KO/TKO/Submission*
*Odds via FanDuel as of 3/2/23*