After being away from the UFC Octagon for over three years, the man who sits atop many lists for the greatest of all time is retunring. Jon Jones will move up a weight class and challenge Ciryl Gane for the vacant Heavyweight Title at UFC 285 in Las Vegas, NV.
It’s a stacked card with plenty of fights worth tuning in for so check out the list below for bout order and how to watch. I’ll do quick picks for each fight as well as highlighting a few bouts I am particularly interested in. Here are the MMA Jay gambling picks for UFC 285.
Quick pick winners will be indicated in bold.
UFC 285 Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass 4:30 p.m. CT)
Esteban Ribovics vs. Loik Radzhabov (-215)
Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat (-450)
Jessica Penne (+250) vs. Tabatha Ricci
Mana Martinez vs. Cameron Saaiman (-260)
Ian Garry (-730) vs. Song Kenan
UFC 285 Prelims (ESPN or ESPN+ 7:00 p.m. CT)
Julian Marquez (+130) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Viviane Araujo to Win by KO/TKO/DQ (+450) vs. Amanda Ribas
This Women’s Flyweight showdown is perhaps one of the more overlooked bouts on the card. I think this could end up being a sneaky good fight. I’m expecting to see some fun grappling exchanges between these two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts but also wouldn’t be surprised to see the fight end up back on the feet at some point due to a scramble.
Once it gets there, I think Araujo has the power edge. We’ve seen Ribas get rocked before and I love the value at +450 for a TKO win for Araujo.
Derek Brunson (+190) vs. Dricus Du Plessis
The key to this one for me is ow the cardio of Brunson holds up. If Brunson has the gas tank for it and elects not to trade with DDP, he can get this fight to the mat and control it there. There is a strong possibility I get burned on this as I have in the past with Brunson but getting him plus money here in a favorable stylistic match-up (at least on paper taking the cardio aspect out of it) was too much to resist.
Cody Garbrandt (-175) vs. Trevin Jones
UFC 285 Main Card (ESPN+ PPV)
Bo Nickal to Win By Submission (-165) vs. Jamie Pickett
There was no way I was going to preview this card without talking about the debut of Allen HS (TX) Wrestling legend Bo Nickal. Nickal was a dominant wrestler at Penn State in college, has competed against the likes of Gordon Ryan in submission grappling, and has seemingly transitioned to mixed martial arts with ease.
There’s obviously a lot of hype behind Nickal but he draws a very experienced Jamie Pickett for his first time in the big show and it’s a step up in competition to be sure. I don’t think Nickal walks through him like he has other opponents so far or like the -1100 odds to win indicate, but I do think he eventually uses that grappling pedigree to lock up a sub. Much better value on Nickal by sub at -165.
Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner (+175)
Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (-490)
I wanted to highlight this fight simply because I am super excited about Shavkat Rakhmonov’s future and firmly believe “Nomad” is the future champ at 170lb. Geoff Neal coming in overweight doesn’t help us get good value on Shavkat here but I still think he’s the biggest lock on the card – even more so than Bo Nickal. Rakhmonov is can’t miss material. Don’t miss this one.
Valentina Shevchenko (C) to Win By Decision (+165) vs. Alexa Grasso
Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane (+140) for the Vacant Heavyweight Championship
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the return of one of the greatest fighters of all-time. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant about Jon Jones’ three year absence. The move up to heavyweight also gives me pause.
Perhaps I am doubting “Bones” too much but I have a lot of questions about his cardio and speed dealing with both the layoff and the move to heavyweight. Ciryl Gane’s speed and striking prowess feels like it is being underrated by Jones as well.
What this fight will come down to is the takedowns of Jon Jones. If Jones gets Gane down relatively easy, expect him to cruise to victory. If Jones struggles to get Gane to the mat, I think “Bon Amin” will take over after round one. I’m placing my money on the latter and taking Gane +140.
Either way, I am excited for this excellent night of fights and can’t wait to tune in. Let us know your picks and what fights you are most excited for this evening with MMA Jay gambling picks: UFC 285!