UFC 285 Prelims Preview: Fight card analysis and breakdowns 1

UFC 285 is set to take place on Saturday, March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The main event will feature a historic heavyweight title fight between former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and top heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane. Jones will be making his long-awaited debut in the heavyweight division after vacating his 205-pound belt. Gane will be looking to spoil Jones’ return and claim the heavyweight title for himself.

Before the main event, however, there are several exciting fights on the preliminary card that MMA fans should not miss. The prelims will showcase some rising stars and veteran fighters across different weight classes. Here’s the full preliminary card, which will take place following the early prelims.

  • Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones
  • Derek Brunson vs. Dricus Du Plessis
  • Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas
  • Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

The UFC 285 prelims will start at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT and air on ESPN and ESPN+.

The main card will follow at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT and air exclusively on ESPN+ PPV.

UFC 285 Prelims

Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones

Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (-165) will face Trevin Jones (+145) in a pivotal matchup at UFC 285. The pay-per-view event features the return of Jon Jones in a vacant heavyweight title fight against Ciryl Gane.

Garbrandt (12-5) is looking to snap a two-fight losing streak that has seen him drop completely out of the UFC rankings. The 31-year-old has suffered knockout losses to T.J. Dillashaw (twice), Pedro Munhoz, and also Kai Kara-France in his last outing. Garbrandt is known for his explosive power and speed, but also for his reckless aggression and questionable chin.

Jones (13-9) is a late replacement for Julio Arce, who withdrew due to injury. The 32-year-old has gone 1-3-1 in his UFC stint so far, with a knockout win over Mario Bautista, a submission loss to Said Nurmagomedov, decision losses to Raoni Barcelos and Javid Basharat, and a no-contest against Timur Valiev (originally a win for Jones but overturned due to marijuana use). Jones is a durable and well-rounded fighter who can switch stances and mix up strikes and takedowns.

Both fighters are desperate for a win to stay relevant in the crowded bantamweight division. Garbrandt has the edge in experience but also carries more pressure and damage. Jones has nothing to lose and could pull off an upset if he can weather Garbrandt’s early storm and drag him into deep waters.

This fight is unlikely to go the distance, as both men have finishing ability and vulnerability. Garbrandt will have to be careful not to get caught by Jones’ counterpunches or submissions, while Jones will have to avoid getting overwhelmed by Garbrandt’s speed and power.

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Derek Brunson vs. Dricus Du Plessis

Two of the top ten middleweights in the UFC will face off at UFC 285. Derek Brunson, ranked #5, will take on Dricus Du Plessis, ranked #10, in a fight that could have future title implications for both men.

Brunson (23-8) is coming off a second-round knockout loss to Jared Cannonier at UFC 271 in February. It was his first defeat since 2018, snapping a five-fight winning streak that included victories over Darren Till, Kevin Holland, Edmen Shahbazyan, and Ian Heinisch. The 39-year-old veteran has been a perennial contender in the division since joining the UFC in 2012 but has fallen short against elite opponents like Israel Adesanya, Robert Whittaker, and Anderson Silva.

Du Plessis (18-2) is riding a four-fight winning streak in the UFC since making his debut in October 2020. The former EFC and KSW champion has finished all but one of his opponents by knockout or submission, including Darren Till, Brad Tavares, and Trevin Giles. The 29-year-old South African has shown impressive striking power and grappling skills in his fights, earning him four performance bonuses and a “Fight of the Night” award with Till last December.

Both fighters have strengths and weaknesses that could make this an exciting matchup. Brunson is known for his wrestling and ground-and-pound game, but he has also improved his striking under coach Henri Hooft. He has good speed and power in his punches and kicks, but he can also be reckless and vulnerable to counters. Du Plessis is a well-rounded fighter who can finish fights on the feet or on the mat. He has excellent timing and accuracy in his strikes, but he can also be overconfident and careless with his defense.

The fight between Brunson and Du Plessis could be a close one that goes either way depending on who imposes their game plan better. Both men have proven themselves as dangerous finishers who can end fights quickly or come back from adversity. The winner of this fight could move closer to a title shot against the current champion Alex Pereira or whoever holds the belt after UFC 287.

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Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas

Two talented female fighters will face off this weekend. Both fighters are looking to bounce back from losses and move closer to a title shot in the 125-pound division.

Araujo (11-4) is ranked #8 in the official UFC flyweight rankings and has won five of her eight fights in the promotion. The Brazilian has shown impressive striking skills and power, finishing Talita Bernardo in her UFC debut and backing it up with decision wins over Andrea Lee, Roxanne Modafferi, and Montana De La Rosa in recent years.

Ribas (10-3) is ranked #8 as a strawweight fighter and has won five of her seven fights in the UFC. The Brazilian has displayed well-rounded skills and charisma, submitting Emily Whitmire and Paige VanZant, and outpointing Mackenzie Dern and Randa Markos.

However, Ribas’ run came to an end when she was knocked out by Marina Rodriguez at UFC 257 in January last year. She was caught by a right hand from Rodriguez as she attempted a takedown early in the second round. Since then, she’s defeated Virna Jandiroba and Katlyn Chookagian.

The winner of this fight could move higher in the flyweight rankings and get closer to a potential title shot against champion Valentina Shevchenko or challenger Alexa Grasso.

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Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

UFC 285 will feature a middleweight bout between Julian Marquez and Marc-Andre Barriault. Both fighters are coming off defeats in their last fight and will look to bounce back here on the preliminary card.

Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez (9-3) is known for his exciting style and charismatic personality. He has won three of his five UFC fights, all by submission. He holds notable wins over Maki Pitolo and Darren Stewart.

Marc-Andre “Power Bar” Barriault (14-6) is a former TKO middleweight champion who has rebounded from a rough start in the UFC. He has won three of his last five fights, including a submission win against Jordan Wright.

This fight promises to be an action-packed affair between two aggressive finishers who are not afraid to trade blows. Both fighters have shown durability and heart in their previous bouts, but also have some weaknesses that could be exploited by their opponent. Marquez has an advantage in grappling and submissions, while Barriault has an edge in striking volume and accuracy.

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