The UFC is back with another blockbuster event on March 4, 2023, as UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event features a heavyweight title showdown between former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and undefeated knockout artist Ciryl Gane.
But on the prelims, two of the top contenders in the middleweight division will face each other, as Derek Brunson and Dricus Du Plessis clash in a fight that could propel one fighter up the rankings.
Brunson vs. Du Plessis is a matchup of contrasting styles and personalities. Brunson is a veteran of the sport who has faced some of the best fighters in the history of the division, including Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, and Yoel Romero. He is known for his explosive wrestling and powerful striking, as well as his resilience and experience.
Du Plessis is a former KSW champion who has made a huge impact in his first four UFC fights, finishing three of them by knockout or submission. He is a versatile fighter who can mix it up on the feet and on the ground, with a confident and charismatic attitude.
Both men are coming off contrasting performances in their last fight. Brunson’s five-fight win streak was snapped by Jared Cannonier, who defeated him in the second round at UFC 271. While Du Plessis extended his own streak to five with a stunning third-round rear-naked choke against Darren Till at UFC 284. Both men have expressed their desire to fight for the title soon, but they will have to get past each other first in what promises to be an exciting and explosive encounter.
The UFC 285 main card will be shown live on ESPN+ pay-per-view from 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
The preliminary card will start at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m PT on ESPN and ESPN+, while the early prelims will kick off at 5:30 p.m ET / 2:30 p.m PT on ESPN+.
MMA journalist James Lynch recently asked UFC fighters who they think will win the showdown between Derek Brunson and Dricus Du Plessis. Who do they think will win and why? Read on to find out.
Brunson vs. Du Plessis predictions
“I think Du Plessis, is in very good shape right now and has a good win streak, so I think he can win this fight.” (via James Lynch)
“The striking is where I think Du Plessis will actually honestly give Brunson a little bit of trouble. But his grappling and wrestling have been a lot of the ways he’s been getting it done, he’s been mixing it in with that. I don’t think he’s going to wrestle like that with Derek Brunson. I’m not gonna say that because he does look good and he is strong and he doesn’t stop, but I don’t know, bro, I don’t know, that’s a good fight, that’s a really good fight.” (via James Lynch)
“Du Plessis has some big, big power, so I’m gonna go with Du Plessis because those big guys, they, you know, the odds of them landing something that knocks someone out go way way up. So I’m [picking] Du Plessis.” (via James Lynch)
“I like Brunson. He’s the vet, I think he’ll just figure it out. Is it the main event or is it a three-rounder [it’s a three rounder]? Okay, well yeah, even more, because I think Du Plessis, I think he might have the conditioning. He might be the better-conditioned guy, but this is a three-rounder. I think Brunson will be able to maintain the pace and get the decision victory.”
“Am I right in saying Dricus was the KSW champion? His ability and his work rate’s through the roof, isn’t it? And he’s like, I remember the fight against Darren Till where he just had him in that and that sort of turtle position where he would just perk against the cage and it just wore Darren Till down until Darren Till had nothing to offer him. But Brunson is a beast. That’s an interesting fight and the UFC put this fight together because you know when these two guys are going to collide, they’re going to get fireworks, but I just think Brunson’s experience is going to be able to — his experience and skills — just going to be able to see him through this fight, it’s probably gonna go the distance.” (via James Lynch)
“It sucks that they’re fighting each other because dude, I absolutely love both of these guys. Like two amazing human beings, I love them, I have no idea about that one. Obviously, I think it’s more of a striker wrestler match up, you know, I think Brunson’s gonna wanna grapple him, I think Dricus is going to try to keep it standing on the feet and you know, I think it’s gonna be a matter of who can implement their game. Whether Brunson can take him down, I think both of them are gonna be in trouble in each other’s realms, you know. I think Derek Brunson’s gonna have a hard time striking with Dricus, and I Dricus is going to have a hard time grappling with Derek, so it’s just gonna be a matter of who’s gonna be able to implement their game plan.” (via James Lynch)
“I gotta go with Derek Brunson just because he’s vettier, he’s slicker. And the other guy is kind of brute power and Brunson’s kind of good at surviving that and coming back and winning.” (via James Lynch)