UFC 285 Preview: Breaking down the two title fights
UFC 285 is set to be one of the biggest events of the year, as former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones makes his long-awaited return to the octagon to face rising star Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title.
The fight will headline a stacked card that also features a flyweight title bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso, as well as the UFC debut of highly-regarded prospect Bo Nickal.
UFC 285 will air exclusively on ESPN+ PPV in the United States. Order the fight card now to watch Jones vs. Gane and all of the fights live on Saturday night.
Here’s everything you need to know about UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane.
The Main Event: Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane
Jon Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time, having dominated the light heavyweight division for almost a decade. He has defeated legends such as Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Shogun Rua, among others. He has also never been officially defeated in his career, with his only loss coming by disqualification due to illegal elbows against Matt Hamill in 2009.
Jones vacated his light heavyweight title in August 2020 to pursue his dream of becoming a two-division champion at heavyweight. He has since bulked up significantly and claims to be in the best shape of his life. He has also been training with a team of current and former UFC heavyweights to prepare for his new challenge.
Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) is one of the most exciting prospects in the heavyweight division, having won five of his nine UFC fights by stoppage. The Frenchman is a former Muay Thai champion who has showcased his striking skills and athleticism in impressive victories over Alexander Volkov, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Junior dos Santos.
Gane also has a solid ground game, having submitted two opponents in his UFC career. He earned his shot at the title by defeating Derrick Lewis by TKO at UFC 265 in August 2021 to claim the interim heavyweight belt before then failing in his bid to become undisputed champion against Francis Ngannou.
The fight between Jones and Gane is expected to be a thrilling clash of styles and skills, as both men have proven themselves to be well-rounded and dangerous fighters. Jones will have an advantage in experience, reach, and wrestling, while Gane may have an edge in speed, power, and striking diversity.
Both fighters are confident in their abilities and have expressed respect for each other ahead of their historic bout. However, only one man can walk away with the undisputed heavyweight crown on March 4.
The Co-Main Event: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso
Valentina Shevchenko (23-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) is one of the most dominant champions in UFC history, having defended her flyweight title seven times since winning it in December 2018. The Kyrgyzstani fighter is a master of striking and grappling who has finished four of her seven title challengers by knockout or submission.
Shevchenko’s only losses in her MMA career came against Amanda Nunes at bantamweight – both by close decisions – but she has been unbeatable at flyweight so far.
Alexa Grasso (15-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is a young contender who has shown great improvement since moving up from strawweight to flyweight in January 2020. The Mexican fighter is known for her crisp boxing skills and high-volume output that have earned her wins over Ji Yeon Kim, Maycee Barber, Joanne Wood, and Viviane Araujo.
Grasso also has decent takedown defense and submission awareness that has helped her survive against grapplers such as Tatiana Suarez and Carla Esparza.
Grasso will face the toughest test of her career when she challenges Shevchenko for the flyweight title at UFC 285. She will have to overcome a significant disadvantage in size, strength, and experience against Shevchenko who has shown no signs of slowing down or losing focus.
Grasso will have to rely on her speed, accuracy and heart to pull off an upset and become the first Mexican woman to win a UFC title.
The Rest of The Card
UFC 285 will also feature some exciting matchups on its main card
and prelims, such as Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett, Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov, and Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner.
Main Card – 10 pm ET / 7 pm PT only on ESPN+ PPV (order here)
- Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane – Heavyweight Title Fight
- Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso – Women’s Flyweight Title Fight
- Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
- Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner
- Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett
Prelims – 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT on ESPN+
- Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones
- Derek Brunson vs. Dricus Du Plessis
- Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas
- Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Early Prelims – 6 pm ET / 3 pm PT on ESPN+
- Ian Machado Garry vs. Song Kenan
- Mana Martinez vs. Cameron Saaima
- Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci
- Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat
- Kamuela Kirk vs. Esteban Ribovics
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