UFC 285 predictions — Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane: Fight card, odds, preview, prelims, expert picks
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.
Valentina Shevchenko will compete in the co-main event as she will defend her women’s flyweight title against Alexa Grasso. Shevchenko has successfully defended her title seven times in UFC 285 and is looking to increase that record against punching specialist Grasso.
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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 -160 vs. Cyril Gein +135, vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship
- Valentina Shevchenko -575 vs. Alexa Grasso +425, UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship
- Mathuesh Gamroth -220 vs. Jalyn Turner +180 Lightweight
- Shavkat Rakhmonov -500 vs. Jeff Neal +380 Welterweight
- Bo Nickal -1600 vs. Jamie Pickett +900 Middleweight
- Dricus du Plessis -230 vs Derek Brunson +190 Middleweight
- Ian Garry -700 vs. Song Kenan +475 Welterweight
- Cody Garbrandt -170 vs Trevin Jones +145 bantamweight
- Amanda Ribas -120 vs. Vivian Araujo +100 Women’s Flyweight
- Marc-André Barrio -150 vs. Julian Marquez +125 Middleweight
- Cameron Siman -300 vs. Mana Martinez +240 bantamweight
- Tabata Ricci -280 vs. Jessica Penne +230, Strawweight Women
- Farid Basharat-480 vs. Da’mon Blackshire +360 Bantamweight
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
|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)
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.
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.
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.