Saturday night’s UFC 285 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada brings with it the heavyweight debut of Jon Jones.
Considered by many the greatest fighter of all time, “Bones” has not been seen inside the cage in just over three years. His return comes not against the fearsome Francis Ngannou or former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, but Ciryl Gane — the new breed big man famously described by UFC President Dana White as a heavyweight who moves like a middleweight.
All eyes will be on Jones at UFC 285 to see if he can replicate the unparalleled success he had at 205lbs. Still, there are some other big match-ups on the card: Alexa Grasso looks to become the third Mexican champion in as many months, against the dominant Valentina Shevchenko. Wrestling standout Bo Nickal makes his promotional debut. And Shavkat Rakhmonov gets his toughest test to date in Geoff Neal.
Our picks are in for UFC 285 — here’s how we predict the card will play out.
|Nickal vs. Pickett
|Gamrot vs. Turner
|Neal vs. Rakhmonov
|Shevchenko vs. Grasso
|Jones vs. Gane
|Val Dewar (20-7)
|Chris Prawdzik (19-8)
|Mike McClory (13-6)
|Alex Behunin (17-10)
|Jamie Theodosi (17-10)
|Eddie Law (15-12)
|Jay Anderson (14-13)
|Dylan Rush (12-13)
When it comes to the UFC 285 main card, our staff members have two fighters winning by a landslide. All eight writers responding went with Bo Nickal to win his promotional debut, which kicks off the PPV card. Shavkat Rakhmonov was also a unanimous selection in his welterweight fight with Geoff Neal (Neal missed weight for the fight by a full four pounds at Friday morning’s official weigh-in).
We were only slightly torn when it comes to Valentina Shevchenko’s title defense against Alexa Grasso. All but a single writer sees “Bullet” defending her title against the former strawweight. Things were a little closer between lightweights Mateusz Gamrot and Jalin Turner — with the edge going to Poland’s “Gamer,” a former KSW double-champ.
Which brings us to the main event, the long awaited return of Jone “Bones” Jones. Only three writers sided with France’s Ciryl Gane to pull off the upset. The rest of our staff expects Jones to claim a title in a second weight class — achieving what only Georges St-Pierre has done previously in returning from a multi-year layoff to claim gold in a new division.