Jon Jones and the touted Frenchman Cyril Gane will headline UFC 285 for the vacant, undisputed heavyweight title. Jones, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, returns to the octagon after an absence of more than two years.
Unfortunately for Jones, his return is against one of the most skilled heavyweights of all time. Gane is listed as a heavyweight but moves like a middleweight, with an elite kickboxing pedigree to match his quickness.
Gane is coming off a knockout finish over Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa, which resulted in one of the best fights of last year. In that fight, Gane displayed a granite rock for a chin, but also demonstrated he has the freight power in both hands to drop large heavyweights such as Tuivasa.
The Frenchman only has one loss in his UFC career, thanks to the former heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou. In that loss, Gane was exploited for his subpar grappling and takedown defense. But to Gane’s credit, he’s as athletic as any heavyweight in the world, and you can bet he’s been drilling takedown defense ever since he lost to Ngannou in early 2022.
Gane already has a resume as impressive as any in the UFC with wins over elite heavyweights such as Derrick Lewis, Junior Dos Santos and Alexander Volkov. I wouldn’t rule out an upset win for Gane — his fighting IQ and striking are levels above most.
As for “Bones,” what is there to say that hasn’t been said already? He’s been the best fighter in the world since his debut in 2008. Jones is a legend in the fight game and he’s been around for decades fighting the likes of Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Maurício “Shogun” Rua.
Jones’ experience is his best weapon heading into the fight against Gane because there isn’t a fighting style he hasn’t seen before. He’s fought off power punchers such as “Rampage” Jackson and Thiago Santos, and he’s beaten grappling technicians such as Glover Teixeira and Daniel Cormier.
The recipe to victory for Jones is simple — wrestle early and often. To that extent, I’d also love to see a finish by the former champ; he hasn’t finished anyone since 2018, when he devoured Alexander Gustaffson. Jones is looking to become a two-division champion after dominating the light heavyweight division for years.
This heavyweight clash is a tough one to predict a victor for, but if Jones avoids the striking power and speed of Gane, then Jones becomes heavyweight king.
Other fights on UFC 285 include the flyweight champion, Valentina “The Bullet” Shevchenko fighting Alexa Grasso. The Mexican challenger, Grasso, is on a four-fight win streak as she looks to upset Shevchenko. “The Bullet” is riding a nine-fight win streak after defeating Thalia Santos in a close five-round fight last June. Expect Shevchenko to handle Grasso with ease and defend her belt for the eighth time.
UFC 285 is loaded with sleeper fights all across the board featuring Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov, Derek Brunson vs. Dricus du Plessis and Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones.
Don’t get things twisted, this card was put together for the heavyweight kings. Uncle Dana was in his bag when putting together this card, so fans are in for a treat. UFC 285 will commence the undisputed heavyweight reign for either Gane or Jones.