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UFC 285 Preview

The UFC returns to Las Vegas for the UFC 285 pay-per-view event taking place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This is a big event with two GOATs featured! The main event is headlined by the return of Jon Jones as he takes on Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title. The co-main event, meanwhile, features a women’s flyweight title fight as Valentina Shevchenko defends her crown against Alexa Grasso.

With plenty of other great fights on the card, let’s take a closer look at all of the action taking place this weekend.


UFC 285 Prelim Card 

Kamuela Kirk takes on Esteban Ribovics in a lightweight encounter. Ribovics should emerge victorious in this affair. 

Da'Mon Blackshear battles the undefeated Farid Basharat in a bantamweight tilt. Basharat is a heavy favorite and should maintain his undefeated record. 

Women's strawweight veteran Jessica Penne clashes with Tabatha Ricci in a fight oddsmakers are favoring the latter to come out on top. 

Mana Martinez faces Cameron Saaiman in a bantamweight duel. Saaiman is expected to improve to 8-0 following this contest. 

Irishman Ian Garry returns to action when he faces Kenan Song in a welterweight fight. Expect the former Cage Warriors champ to continue his winning run in the UFC and remain undefeated and take another step toward stardom. 

Julian Marquez meets Marc-Andre Barriault in a middleweight contest. It’s a close encounter, but one oddsmakers are giving Barriault the slightest of edges in. 

Former women's flyweight title challenger Viviane Araujo takes on Amanda Ribas. This is another close contest, but Ribas is just about favored to emerge victorious in this battle of Brazilians. 

Derek Brunson returns to action when he takes on Dricus Du Plessis in a middleweight encounter. Expect Du Plessis to continue his winning run and get some attention on such a big card with a win over the #5 ranked Brunson. 

The featured prelim sees former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt take on short notice opponent Trevin Jones. Garbrandt is still only 31 years old.  Although his career has been all downhill since his loss to T.J. Dillashaw after winning the belt. Jones is on a three fight losing streak, but his power does not make it an automatic win for “No Love” that should get his hand raised if his chin holds up. 

UFC 285 Main Card 

Nickal (3-0) v Pickett (13-8) 

The main card kicks off with an intriguing middleweight bout featuring Bo Nickal and Jamie Pickett. Nickal is only 3 and 0 in his pro MMA career, but is one of the hottest prospects based on his national campion college wrestling pedigree and two flawless first-round submission victories in Dana White's Contender Series.   

While Pickett is much more experienced in MMA, he has lost his last two as well as four of his last six overall. The oddsmakers agree as he is HUGE favorite to emerge victorious in his UFC debut. 

Gamrot (21-2, 1NC) v Turner (13-5) 

An exciting lightweight encounter is also on the cards as Mateusz Gamrot takes on Jalin Turner. Gamrot will be looking to return to the win column after getting comfortably outpointed by Beneil Dariush in his last outing. Prior to that, the Polish contender was on a four-fight winning streak including a controversial decision over Arman Tsarukyan. 

Turner, meanwhile, is on a five-fight winning streak. He most recently earned his most impressive win with a submission victory over Brad Riddell at UFC 276 back in July. Like he does with most opponents, Turner will have a size advantage over Gamrot. That said, Gamrot’s ground game and overall skillset should see him emerge victorious in this one in the top 10 ranked clash. 

Neal (15-4) v Rakhmonov (16-0) 

The sleeper fight of the night may just be this top 10 welterweight battle between Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmonov. Neal made it two wins in a row following an emphatic knockout win over Vicente Luque back in August. Prior to that, he bounced back from a two-fight skid with a split decision win over Santiago Ponzinibbio. It will be tough for him to make it three in a row, however. 

Other than Khamzat Chimaev, Rakhmonov is easily the most impressive (and undefeated) fighter making his move up the ranks. The Kazakhstani is 4-0 in the UFC so far and his most recent victory saw him submit welterweight veteran Neil Magny back in June. It’s hard to see him being stopped anytime soon as Rakhmonov is a big favorite to get past Neil and continue to surge up the rankings. 

Valentina Shevchenko (23-3) v Grasso (15-3) 

Valentina Shevchenko will look to earn another defense of her women’s flyweight crown when she battles the exciting Alexa Grasso. Shevchenko made it seven title defenses after a split decision win over Taila Santos back in June. However, it was a very close contest which many felt could have gone either way. A rematch was expected, but never came through with Grasso now being the next fresh contender for Shevchenko. 

Unlike previous opponents for Shevchenko, Grasso has decent, polished striking and is a winner of her last four fights with her most recent win being a unanimous decision victory over Viviane Araujo. But despite her skillset, it’s still hard to see her giving Shevchenko any real problems, especially if the fight remains standing. The “Bullet” was off her game in her last fight, and probably hindered by an inury.  She remains another huge betting favorite this time and no reason to see why Valentina doesn’t add another title defense Saturday night. 

Jones (26-1, 1NC) v Gane (11-1) 

The UFC 285 headliner sees a vacant heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane. Jones will be making his long-awaited heavyweight debut and will also be competing for the first time in three years. His last fight, of course, was a close unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes to defend his light heavyweight title. He would vacate the title a few months later to prepare for the move up and after years, it’s finally coming to fruition this weekend. 

As for Gane, he recently bounced back from his unanimous decision defeat to then UFC champion Francis Ngannou with an impressive knockout victory over Tai Tuivasa at UFC Paris. Overall, “Bon Gamin” is 8-1 with the promotion and additionally, has proven himself to be the most well-rounded fighter in the heavyweight division by far. 

Given that Jones didn’t look his best in his fights against Reyes or Thiago Santos bundled along with the long layoff and ring rust, Gane can fancy his chances greatly with a decision win for the Frenchman providing plenty of value. With that said, Jones is still yet to truly be defeated inside the Octagon and is regarded by many as the GOAT for a reason.  

The American needs motivation again, and the move up to heavyweight will do this as he should step on the scales as a legit heavyweight at 245lbs.  Gane, meanwhile, showed flaws in his wrestling against Ngannou which could be something Jones can exploit to a great deal. All these factors combined translates to the oddsmakers giving the edge to Jones coming out on top and becoming a two-weight UFC champion.  I like putting money on the favorite as “Bones” should have a game plan, wrestling, and cardio advantage. 





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V: 1.38.0 All rights reserved. August 2021