UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane Main Event Prediction
UFC VEGAS 285 – After three long years, it’s finally here folks. The return of the G.O.A.T. The timing could not be better with former heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, vacating the title and leaving it up for grabs for the next viable contenders.
Jon Jones makes his long-awaited return to the Octagon with plans to grow his legacy by conquering the heavyweight division.
Just over a year after his first crack at the undisputed heavyweight title, Ciryl Gane tries his hand at it again this weekend.
Will Jones successfully transition to the heavyweight division? Or will the Frenchman spoil his return and add a heavyweight title to his resume? Read on to find out who will come out on top and whether there are any lucrative spots in this fight.
Last week didn’t pan out the way we had hoped, so here’s to hoping for a glorious end to an incredible fight this week. Let’s take a look at the fighters.
Widely regarded as the greatest fighter of all time, Jones ran through any and all competition that was put ahead of him. However, his last couple of performances would make newer fans question why everyone is so high on him.
The truth could be a simple as the motivation and fire in Jon was stoked because he got complacent and was so used to winning.
It was really a treat being a die-hard fan during his initial rise in the company and seeing him dispatch of legend after legend all within a short period of time. That is, until he fell on hard times with out-of-cage issues.
Jones’ Technical Gifts
At his best, Jones wasn’t the most technical fighter, but he was so good at implementing his style.
His range management, unorthodox striking, and devastating ground, and pound were the crux of his style. He is so well-rounded that he would look to fight opponents with their own strength and still beat them.
He looked at it as a challenge that he had to conquer, rather than taking fights into a realm that he would face lesser resistance. That’s how good he was.
Is Age Just a Number?
At 35 years old, we’ve come a long way from when we were mystified at his greatness at how young of an age he was at.
However, this is the best time for him to move up to the heavyweight division as normally it is seen as a dinosaur division. You can be in your late 30s or early 40s and have success at this division since it doesn’t rely so heavily on the fast twitch movements and attributes required to be successful at lower weight classes.
Now to bring his skill set, and hopefully some motivation, to the heavyweight division, the best could yet to be seen from Jones.
I heard of Gane even before his first professional MMA fight, because it took place in Montreal and was for the TKO heavyweight title.
Not often do you see someone making their pro debut for a title, even on the regional scene. However, he made quick work of his first three opponents before jumping on over to the UFC.
It took him seven fights to earn a shot at the gold. He made good on the opportunity when he finished Derrick Lewis back in 2021.
He earned his title shot, but came up short, as Francis Ngannou dug deeper and won the latter parts of that fight. Gane was able to bounce back in September as the UFC touched down in Paris for the first time, giving him the spotlight in the main event.
I’ve long been a Gane fan given the fact that he’s a unicorn in the heavyweight division. What I mean by that is we haven’t seen someone with his technical striking prowess, his elite footwork, and his ability to dictate the pace , forcing his opponents to fight his fight.
He moves around the cage so fluidly but engages often enough for us to not think he’s just trying to avoid fighting. He strikes well from distance, uses a variety of striking techniques, and very rarely gets hit cleanly by his opponents.
The one chink in his armor that Ngannou seemed to expose was that he doesn’t have much of an answer off of his back.
I think that caught most people by surprise. We didn’t expect Ngannou to wrestle and everything we had seen from Gane on the ground (mainly from top position) made us believe he had a well-crafted Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game.
However, that came against very low level opponents and we now know it is not as good as we had originally thought. Those are things he can obviously shore up, but still a glaring hole that some opponents can take advantage of.
The big question marks going into this fight are twofold: how will Jones deal with such a significant lay off; and how will he adjust to fighting with more weight to carry around?
Throughout these last three years, he been hammering home the point that he’s putting the weight on methodically. We’ll see how much validity there is to that this weekend.
If he has done it correctly and if it doesn’t impact his style too much, I think he runs through Gane in this fight.
Gane will have the striking advantage as well as the heavyweight experience advantage. Sooner or later Jones will be looking to drag this fight to the ground where he will have a serious advantage.
The wrestling game of Jones has always been overlooked. However, when you look at some of his most dominant performances, it’s him demolishing his opponents from top position or finding a submission.
If it wasn’t for the issues I laid out above, I’d have a whole lot more confidence on the Jones side. I still feel pretty adamant about him getting his hand raised this weekend.