UFC 285 predictions — Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane: Fight card, odds, preview, expert picks, prelims

One of the UFC’s longest-running questions is “What if?” the scripts will finally play out in the octagon on Saturday night when Jon Jones finally makes his heavyweight debut. Jones will face Cyril Gein for the vacant heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 285.

Jones, the longtime light heavyweight king, last fought in 2020. He vacated his belt due to a financial dispute with UFC management and eventually began to put on weight for the cruiserweight division. He meets Gein, who is two fights away from losing his first attempt at becoming the undisputed champion. In that fight, Gein lost a decision to Francis Ngannou at UFC 270, but has since bounced back with a knockout win over Tai Tuivasa.

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In another title fight scheduled for Saturday night, the female flyweight queen, Valentina Shevchenko, will return. The Kyrgyzstan native has yet to truly challenge herself since her return to 125 pounds as she has won nine fights in a row, eight of them for the division title. She welcomes her latest challenge in Alexa Grasso, who won four tournaments in a row to earn the title.

With so much going on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get into our staff’s predictions and picks for the PPV celebration part.

UFC 285 fight card, odds

Odds via bookmaker Caesars

  • Jon Jones -190 vs. Cyril Gein +160, vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship
  • Valentina Shevchenko -900 vs. Alexa Grasso +600, UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov -550 vs. Jeff Neal +400 Welterweight
  • Mathuesh Gamroth -220 vs. Jalyn Turner +180 Lightweight
  • Bo Nickal -1600 vs. Jamie Pickett +900 Middleweight
  • Cody Garbrandt -170 vs Trevin Jones +145 bantamweight
  • Dricus du Plessis -230 vs Derek Brunson +190 Middleweight
  • Amanda Ribas -120 vs. Vivian Araujo +100 Women’s Flyweight
  • Marc-André Barrio -150 vs. Julian Marquez +125 Middleweight
  • Ian Garry -700 vs. Song Kenan +475 Welterweight
  • Cameron Siman -260 vs. Mana Martinez +210 bantamweight
  • Tabata Ricci -300 vs. Jessica Penne +240, Strawweight Women
  • Farid Basharat-480 vs. Da’mon Blackshire +360 Bantamweight
  • Loik Radjabov -240 vs. Esteban Ribovich +200, Lightweight

With such a massive main event in mind, the CBS Sports team made their predictions and chose the main card. Here are your picks: Brent Brookhouse (combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (combat sports writer, Morning Kombat co-host), Shaquille Mahjuri (screenwriter), Michael Mormail (producer), and Brandon Wise (senior editor).

UFC 285 Election Predictions

Campbell Brookhouse Mahjuri To Morm Wise
Jones vs Gein Ghana Jones Ghana Jones Ghana
Shevchenko vs. Grasso Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko Shevchenko
Gamroth vs. Turner Gamroth Turner Gamroth Gamroth Turner
Rakhmonov vs. Nile Rakhmonov Rakhmonov Rakhmonov Rakhmonov Rakhmonov
Nikal vs. Pickett Nikal Nikal Nikal Nikal Nikal
Records to date (2023)
9-1 7-3 8-2 8-2 8-2

Jones vs Gein

Campbell: The odds in this fight for the vacant title are so close for a reason. While Jones brings a clear lead over Gein in his heavyweight debut, it’s hard not to see how much the combination of a three-year break and his extra muscle mass can affect him early on. At 205 pounds, Jones has also historically been used to excessive reach advantage. But against Gein, who is one inch taller, Jones’ lead is reduced to 3.5 inches. Gein moves like no other heavyweight, and in his recent shootout with Tai Tuivasa, he realized that if he continued to focus on dealing more damage, he could absorb dangerous punches to get there. For all the understandable talk of Jones’ legacy and how winning a second-weight title can solidify his MMA GOAT status, it’s easy to overlook how much Gein continues to improve at his job after just over three years in the UFC. . Provided he can get up quickly after being knocked down, the movement and versatility of Gein’s punches may be enough to win a five-round chess match.

Brookhouse: It’s amazing how few wrestlers Gein has met in his UFC career. It’s also clear that this is a serious flaw in his game, considering how badly Ngannou outplayed him. To make matters worse, Gane looked completely lost on the ground when Ngannou knocked him down. There are tons of unknowns about Jones heading into battle, but what No it is unknown that he has solid wrestling experience, which he used against high-level competition for over a decade. Can Gein fill that gap in just over a year, or at least develop enough takedown defense to avoid losing a title fight because he couldn’t stop? Francis Ngannou from knocking him down repeatedly to being able to defend himself against a creative, skilled wrestler? I don’t see this happening.

Mahjuri: Jones has to deal with far more uncertainties than his opponents. There is no discrediting of Jones’ light heavyweight division, but the reality is that he fought already lifeless contenders Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos towards the end. Jones completes three-year absence and possibly earns hardest weight transition in sports going into heavy weight. The heavyweight landscape was very different when the Jones move was first talked about. Bold and hardworking heavyweights have been replaced by more advanced athletes. Guys like Gein, Sergei Pavlovich and Tom Aspinall are not fighters that Jones can easily use speed and technique against. If I have to choose between Gein’s dubious wrestling defense and the many “what ifs” surrounding Jones, I’m going to side with the born heavyweight.

Shevchenko vs. Grasso

Campbell: Is the flyweight division catching up with the dominant Shevchenko, or is age starting to show slight signs of decline at 34? This is Shevchenko’s pre-fight story following a controversial split decision victory over Tayla Santos last year. But Shevchenko only looked human throughout her historic championship (including the UFC women’s record of seven title defenses) in certain matches, usually against bigger opponents with strong grappling plays. Grasso has a lot of games and an experienced boxer, but everything she does well, Shevchenko does even better. Look for a champion who will remind us all of her greatness.

Brookhouse: Grasso has strong boxing and a big heart. But Shevchenko has the skills to take the fight wherever she needs to in order to win. Age and general wear and tear will catch up with Shevchenko sooner or later, and failure has happened to dominant champions many times in the past. However, if Grasso starts to find success on the feet, Shevchenko’s often overlooked wrestling skills will give her the opportunity to put an end to this and restructure the fight. This versatility is her biggest weapon in this fight.

Neil vs. Rakhmonov

Wise: It was quite difficult to determine how good Rakhmonov was compared to the rest of the welterweight division. He’s a freak jock with an insane skill set. Yet as dominant as he is, he has not been challenged in a way that teaches us anything about his determination. It’s hard to expect Neil to do that kind of test on Saturday after losing quite a bit of weight on Friday. Neil can also be quite one-dimensional in his punching game. Rely on Rakhmonov to continue to burn through fighters below the top five before they are truly tested.

Gamroth vs. Turner

Brookhouse: Sometimes you just need to ride on a hot hand. Turner has been in an absolute tear of late, combining his full potential with a huge size advantage to positively crush opponents. Gamroth is the best fighter Turner has faced this stretch and a fighter with offensive grappling skills that take Turner out of the game. However, Turner’s length and strength make him a very lively underdog and he has the confidence to turn a fight around even if he has trouble defending takedowns here and there. Again, ride on a hot hand.

Mahjuri: Turner told CBS Sports that the Gamroth fight is likely to take place in three weeks. was not the wisest solution. Gamroth might just be the best clean fighter in the lightweight division. Turner trained for a fight with striker Dan Hooker less than a month ago. It’s certainly true that Gamroth has a reduced training camp for combat, but his path to success seems so obvious. Turner has been defeated in three of his last six fights: once by Jamie Mullarkey, once by Brock Weaver and four times by Matt Frevola. Turner has the power to knock anyone out without warning and has definitely improved his defensive fighting, but I’m not sure he can turn down Gamroth’s bread and butter without enough prep time.

Nikal vs. Pickett

Campbell: As much of the hype as Nikal went on his UFC debut, it seems justified. At 27, Nikal is a much more complete product after three pro fights than perhaps any prospect in the history of the sport. The former phenomenal wrestler and three-time Pennsylvania NCAA champion is no stranger to bright lights, and he could get his way with Pickett. While we may never know how good Nikal’s chin, gas tank, and punches are until he’s been properly tested, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong to believe what our eyes tell us. Nickal really seems so good.

Who will beat Jones vs Gein at UFC 285? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now for details on every fight at UFC 285.all from the MMA expert who made more than…


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