UFC 285 is set to take place on Saturday, March 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will feature a heavyweight title fight between former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former interim champion Ciryl Gane. The co-main event will see Valentina Shevchenko defend the UFC Flyweight Championship against Alexa Grasso.
The event will be available to watch on ESPN+ pay-per-view (PPV) in the United States, with the main card starting at 10 pm ET / 7 pm PT.
The preliminary card will air on ESPN and ESPN+ at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT, following the early preliminary card exclusively on ESPN+ at 5:30 pm ET / 2:30 pm PT.
Before the main card and the prelims kick-off, there will be five exciting matchups to get the night started on the early prelims. These fights will showcase some of the best prospects and veterans in various UFC weight classes.
Here are the five fights on the early preliminary card:
- Ian Garry vs. Song Kenan
- Mana Martinez vs. Cameron Saaiman
- Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci
- Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat
- Esteban Ribovics vs. Loik Radzhabov
In this article, we will preview each of these fights and give you some insight into what to expect from these fighters.
UFC 285 Early Prelims
Ian Garry vs. Song Kenan
One of the most anticipated fights on the early prelims of UFC 285 is a welterweight clash between rising prospect Ian Garry and veteran Song Kenan. The fight will take place on March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Ian Garry (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is a 25-year-old Irish sensation who has impressed fans and critics alike with his undefeated record and flashy style. He made his UFC debut in November 2021 with a spectacular knockout of Jordan Williams at UFC 268. He followed that up with two more wins over Darian Weeks and Gabe Green, helping him emerge as one of the top prospects in the division.
Garry is a well-rounded fighter who has finished six of his ten opponents. He is also confident and charismatic, drawing comparisons to fellow countryman Conor McGregor.
Song Kenan (19-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is a 32-year-old Chinese fighter who has been competing in the UFC since 2017. He has four wins and two losses in the promotion, with three of his wins coming by knockout. He most recently was defeated by Max Griffin by first-round knockout in March last year.
Song is a powerful striker who likes to pressure his opponents with aggressive combinations. He has 9 knockouts in his 19 professional wins. He also has a background in Sanda, a Chinese martial art that combines striking and wrestling.
The fight between Garry and Song will be an exciting matchup of contrasting styles and experience levels. Garry will look to use his speed, versatility, and creativity to outsmart and outclass Song. Song will look to use his power, toughness, and resilience to test Garry’s chin and heart.
Both fighters have something to prove at UFC 285: Garry wants to show that he is ready for bigger challenges and higher rankings; Song wants to show that he can stop the hype train of Garry and earn respect for himself and his country.
Mana Martinez vs. Cameron Saaiman
UFC 285 will feature a bantamweight bout between Mana Martinez and Cameron Saaiman, two fighters with contrasting records and styles.
Mana Martinez (10-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is a 26-year-old Texan who made his UFC debut in August 2021 with a split decision win against Guido Cannetti. He then lost a unanimous decision to Ronnie Lawrence in early 2022 before bouncing back with a split decision win over Brandon Davis in October, earning his second UFC victory and his 10th overall.
Martinez is a powerful striker who has finished eight of his ten wins by knockout. He likes to pressure his opponents with aggressive combinations and has a strong right hand. He typically prefers to keep the fight standing.
Cameron Saaiman (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is a 22-year-old South African who joined the UFC in December 2022 with an impressive TKO win against Steven Koslow at UFC 282. The victory extended his win streak to seven.
Saaiman is a well-rounded fighter who can mix it up on the feet and on the ground. He is a southpaw who uses his jab and kicks effectively to keep his distance. He also has a solid wrestling game and can control his opponents on the mat.
The fight between Martinez and Saaiman will be an exciting matchup between two fighters who are early in their careers. Martinez will look to use his power and aggression to overwhelm Saaiman and score an early finish. Saaiman will look to use his speed and versatility to outpoint Martinez and avoid his big shots.
Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci
One of the intriguing matchups on the early prelims of UFC 285 is a women’s strawweight bout between Jessica Penne and Tabatha Ricci.
Jessica Penne (14-6 MMA, 3-4 UFC) is a former Invicta FC atomweight champion and a former UFC title challenger who has been competing professionally since 2006. She has faced some of the best fighters to have recently competed in the division, including Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade. She had managed two consecutive wins over Lupita Godinez and Karolina Kowalkiewicz but her win streak was snapped in 2022 when Emily Ducote defeated her by unanimous decision.
Penne is a well-rounded fighter who can strike and grapple effectively. She has eight submissions and two knockouts in her 14 wins.
Tabatha Ricci (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) is a rising prospect who joined the UFC in June 2021 but suffered her first career loss to Manon Fiorot by TKO. She later bounced back with unanimous decision wins over Maria Oliveira and Polyana Viana.
Ricci is a former judo champion who has transitioned to MMA successfully. She has two submissions and one knockout in her seven wins. She likes to use her judo throws and trips to take her opponents down and control them on the ground.
Penne will look to use her experience and versatility to outsmart and outclass Ricci. Ricci will look to use her judo skills and potential to surprise and upset Penne.
At UFC 285, Penne wants to show that she still belongs among the elite of the division; Ricci wants to show that she can beat an ‘OG’ of women’s MMA.
Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat
UFC 285 will feature a bantamweight bout between two prospects: Da’Mon Blackshear and Farid Basharat.
Da’Mon “Da Monster” Blackshear (12-4-1 MMA, 0-0-1 UFC) is a 28-year-old fighter who made his UFC debut in August 2022 and fought to a majority draw with Youssef Zalal. Blackshear has submitted eight opponents in his career to date and all four of his defeats have come by way of decision.
Farid “Ferocious” Basharat (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is a 25-year-old Afghan-born British fighter who joined the UFC following a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series last year. The unanimous decision win over Allan Begosso helped him extend his win streak to nine.
Basharat, too, has won the majority of his fights by submission. He’s now racked up five submissions and one knockout victory in his nine fights so far.
Esteban Ribovics vs. Loik Radzhabov
Esteban Ribovics (11-0) is a rising star from Argentina who has finished all of his opponents by knockout or submission. He earned his UFC contract by knocking out Thomas Paull in the first round in Dana White’s Contender Series last year. Ribovics is a well-rounded fighter who can strike with power and precision, as well as grapple with skill and aggression. He has shown confidence and composure in his fights, and has vowed to be even more impressive in his UFC career. Ribovics trains at Alfa Team with fellow UFC fighters Santiago Ponzinibbio and Laureano Staropoli.
Loik Radzhabov (16-4-1) is a veteran from Tajikistan who has fought all over the world, including Russia, Germany, China, and the United States. He’ll make his UFC debut this weekend. Radzhabov is a relentless pressure fighter who likes to close the distance and unleash flurries of punches and kicks. He also has a strong wrestling background and can take down his opponents with ease. He is known as “Jaguar Paw” for his ferocity and endurance.
The fight between Ribovics and Radzhabov promises to be an exciting one, as both fighters have similar styles and strengths. They are both aggressive, durable, and versatile. However, they also have some weaknesses that could be exploited by their opponent. Ribovics may have an advantage in striking accuracy and power, while Radzhabov may have an edge in wrestling and experience. The fight could come down to who can impose their will on the other and avoid making mistakes.
Both fighters have expressed their desire to make a statement at UFC 285, so fans can expect fireworks when they step into the octagon on March 4.