UFC 285 Predictions – Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane: Fight Card, Odds, Previews, Prelims, Expert Picks
One of the UFC’s longest-running what-ifs. Scenarios will finally play out in the Octagon on Saturday night when Jon Jones finally makes his heavyweight debut. Jones takes on Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 285 for the vacant heavyweight championship.
Jones, the longtime light heavyweight king, last fought in 2020. He vacated his belt amid a financial row with UFC executives and eventually began gearing up for a heavyweight run. He meets Gane, who is two fights away from losing in his first attempt at becoming the undisputed champion. In that fight, Gane lost a decision to Francis Ngannou at UFC 270 but has since bounced back with a KO win over Tai Tuivasa.
Valentina Shevchenko will be in action in the co-main event when she defends her women’s flyweight title against Alexa Grasso. Shevchenko has successfully defended her title seven times at UFC 285 and is looking to extend that record against striker Grasso.
Can’t get enough boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the martial arts world from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat starring Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and detailed news.
With so much happening on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight map with the latest Caesars Sportsbook odds before we get to our staff’s predictions and tips for the PPV portion of the celebrations.
UFC 285 fight card, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Jon Jones -160 vs. Ciryl Gane +135, vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship
- Valentina Shevchenko -575 vs. Alexa Grasso +425, UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship
- Matuesz Gamrot -220 vs. Jalin Turner +180, lightweights
- Shavkat Rakhmonov -500 vs. Geoff Neal +380, welterweights
- Bo Nickal -1600 vs. Jamie Pickett +900, Middleweight
- Dricus du Plessis -230 vs. Derek Brunson +190, Middleweight
- Ian Garry -700 vs. Son Kenan +475, welterweights
- Cody Garbrandt -170 vs. Trevin Jones +145, bantamweights
- Amanda Ribas -120 vs. Viviane Araujo +100, Women’s Flyweights
- Marc-Andre Barriault -150 vs. Julian Marquez +125, Middleweight
- Cameron Saaiman -300 vs. Mana Martinez +240, bantamweights
- Tabatha Ricci -280 vs. Jessica Penne +230, Women’s Strawweights
- Farid Basharat -480 vs. Da’mon Blackshear +360, bantamweights
With such a massive main event, the CBS Sports crew moved on with main card predictions and tips. Here are your favorites: Brent Brookhouse (martial arts writer), Brian Campbell (martial arts writer, co-host of “Morning Kombat”), Shakiel Mahjouri (writer), Michael Mormile (producer), and Brandon Wise (editor-in-chief).
UFC 285 picks, predictions
|Jones vs Gane||Gane||Jones||Gane||Jones||Gane|
|Shevchenko vs. Grasso||Shevchenko||Shevchenko||Shevchenko||Shevchenko||Shevchenko|
|Gamrot vs Turner||gamrot||gymnast||gamrot||gamrot||gymnast|
|Rakhmonov vs. Neal||Rachmonov||Rachmonov||Rachmonov||Rachmonov||Rachmonov|
|Nickal vs. Pickett||Nickal||Nickal||Nickal||Nickal||Nickal|
|Records so far (2023) ||9-1||7-3||8-2||8-2||8-2|
Jones vs Gane
Campbell: The odds in this vacant title shot are tight for a reason. Although Jones brings a key wrestling advantage over Gane in his heavyweight debut, it’s hard to overlook how much the combination of a three-year hiatus and his extra muscle mass could affect him early on. At 205 pounds, Jones was also historically accustomed to excessive range advantage. But against Gane, who’s an inch taller, Jones’ lead shrinks to just 3.5 inches. Gane moves like no other heavyweight, and he learned in his recent shootout with Tai Tuivasa that if he keeps his focus on dealing more damage, he’s able to absorb dangerous punches to get there. With all the understandable talk about Jones’ legacy and how winning a second-weight division title could bolster his claim as MMA’s GOAT, it’s easy to overlook how much Gane continues to improve after just over three years of his UFC journey. Provided he can get up quickly after being knocked down, Gane’s movement and impressive versatility might be enough to win a five-round chess match.
Brookhouse: It’s glaring how few wrestlers Gane has faced in his UFC career. It’s also apparent that this is a major flaw in his game considering how he was badly defeated by Ngannou. What’s worse, Gane looked downright lost when Ngannou took him down. There are tons of unknowns about Jones going into the fight, but what is not An unknown is that he has a solid wrestling background, which he has used against high-level competition for more than a decade. Can Gane close that gap in a little over a year, or at least have developed enough takedown defense not to lose a title shot because he couldn’t quit? Franz Ngannou Of repeatedly tripping him up to defend himself against a creative, skilled wrestler? I don’t see that.
Mahjouri: Jones faces far more uncertainties than his opponents. There is no discrediting of Jones’ light heavyweight run, but the reality is that towards the end he fought against now lifeless challengers Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos. Jones is coming off a three-year absence and is doing well the hardest weight shifting in the sport by moving to heavyweight. The heavyweight landscape was very different when initial talks were sparked about Jones making the transition. The bashing, plodding heavyweights of yore have been replaced with a more complete athletic package. Guys like Gane, Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall are not fighters whom Jones can easily use speed and technique against. If I have to choose between Gane’s questionable defense or the many “what ifs” surrounding Jones, I’ll go with the born and raised heavyweight.
Shevchenko vs. Grasso
Campbell: Will the flyweight catch up with the dominant Shevchenko or is age showing slight signs of aging at 34? That’s the pre-fight narrative Shevchenko faces after a controversial split decision win over Taila Santos last year. But Shevchenko has only looked human during her historic title reign (which includes a UFC women’s record seven title defenses) in certain matchups, usually against larger opponents with heavy grappling games. Grasso is a game and an accomplished boxer, but anything she does well, Shevchenko does even better. Keep an eye out for the champion to remind us all of her greatness.
Brookhouse: Grasso has solid boxing and a lot of heart. But Shevchenko has the skills to take the fight where she needs it to pull off a win. Age and general wear and tear will eventually catch up with Shevchenko, and in the past dominant champions have often been upset. However, when Grasso starts to find success on his feet, Shevchenko’s often-overlooked wrestling skills give her a way to end it and change the structure of the fight. This versatility is her greatest weapon in this fight.
Gamrot vs Turner
Brookhouse: Sometimes you just have to ride the hot hand. Turner has been on an absolute rift lately, merging all of his potential with his massive size advantages to positively beat opponents. The best fighter Turner has faced in this stretch, Gamrot is a fighter with the offensive wrestling skills to take Turner out of his game. Still, Turner’s length and power make him a very much alive underdog and he has the confidence to turn a fight around even if he struggles to defend takedowns here and there. Ride the hot hand again.
Mahjouri: Turner told CBS Sports that fighting Gamrot with three weeks’ notice probably wasn’t the wisest decision. Gamrot is perhaps the best lightweight pure wrestler. Turner was gearing up to face fellow forward Dan Hooker less than a month ago. It’s certainly true that Gamrot has reduced training camp for combat, but his path to success seems so clear. Turner has been defeated in three of his last six fights: once by Jamie Mullarkey, once by Brok Weaver, and four times by Matt Frevola. Turner has the power to take down anyone without warning and he’s definitely improved his defensive grappling, but I’m not sure he can turn down Gamrot’s bread and butter without enough prep time.
Nickal vs. Pickett
Campbell: Because as big as the hype surrounding Nickal is in his UFC debut, it seems justified. At 27, through three pro fights, Nickal is far more of a finished product than arguably any other player in the history of the sport. The former phenomenal wrestler and three-time NCAA champion at Penn State is no stranger to the bright lights and could have his way with Pickett. While we may never know how good Nickal’s chin, tank, and punch are until he’s been properly tested, that doesn’t mean believing what our eyes tell us is wrong. Nickal really seems that good.
https://www.cbssports.com/mma/news/ufc-285-predictions-jon-jones-vs-ciryl-gane-fight-card-odds-preview-prelims-expert-picks/ UFC 285 Predictions – Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane: Fight Card, Odds, Previews, Prelims, Expert Picks