UFC 285 Picks: Will Jon Jones Reach GOAT Status?
The most anticipated return to MMA history is upon us as the greatest to ever do it steps back into the octagon on Saturday after three years of being away. Jon Jones will face Cyril Gane for the vacant heavyweight title.
Valentina Shevchenko also puts her flyweight title on the line against Alexa Grasso, just as the UFC welcomes one of the sport’s greatest-ever prospects, Bo Nickal.
It’s the best UFC card in recent memory and here are our picks for UFC 285 to help with your UFC betting.
Jon Jones vs. Cyril Gane
Jones makes his UFC debut at heavyweight with the former light heavyweight king looking to cement his legacy as the greatest of all time. However, he has arguably the toughest fight he's had when he meets Gane.
It’s one thing to move up a weight class but another thing to meet with such a ferocious and technically astute striker like Gane. Not only does the Frenchman move exceptionally well on his feet for a man his size, but he combines his beautiful striking with faultless footwork like something you would expect from a lightweight.
Jones, however, is the best ever to do it for a reason. As witnessed in Gane’s fight with Francis Ngannou a year ago, the former struggles in the wrestling department quite a lot. Ultimately, he won the first two rounds against Ngannou because the fight stayed on his feet, but in the final three rounds, Gane lost because Ngannou implemented basic wrestling.
In truth, this fight could go either way because we don’t know what three years out of action and a move up a weight class have done to Jones. Indeed, he looks extremely big, but if this size increase and time off have not impacted his MMA ability, he should win.
The first two rounds could go either way, and we expect Gane to win at least one or two rounds throughout the fight. We can’t, however, pick against the GOAT here.
Jon Jones to win on points is +195 with FanDuel.
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso
From the best to ever do it in the men’s ranks to arguably the best to ever do it in the women’s divisions.
Shevchenko will be looking to defend her flyweight crown for the eighth time and will have a tricky test against the rising star, Alexa Grasso.
The champion did squeeze through her last fight with Talia Santos and won via split decision. Now, however, up against a boxer like Grasso, the fight could play right into the hands of Shevchenko's sensational striking ability.
The Mexican contender is on a four-fight win streak, but as she has won 10 of her 15 fights on points, it's doubtful we'll see her outclass and outwork someone like Shevchenko.
However, as we witnessed with Amanda Nunes last year, these types of fights can often spring an upset when champions are so deep into their title reign. However, Shevchenko is different, and she should win again here.
Valentina Shevchenko by KO/TKO is +195 with FanDuel.
Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
Rakhmonov is arguably the sport’s most interesting and dangerous figure. Hailing from Kazakhstan, he is the first UFC fighter to ever come from that country and he brings a set of skills as we’ve never seen before.
At 28, Rakhmonov has a 16-0 record in MMA, and this is made even more impressive by the fact he has won 50% of those via knockout and 50% via submission. This will also be the Kazakh's fourth fight in the UFC, with his last two earning him a Performance of the Night bonus.
Although Rakhmonov is a phenom, Geoff Neal is special in his own right. The American earned a Performance of the Night bonus by upsetting the odds with a fantastic KO win over Vicente Luque in his last fight, but in reality, he simply doesn't possess the same skill level or size as someone like Rakhmonov.
Rakhmonov, to us, is a future champion, and the only man who likely prevents that is Khamzat Chimaev.
Shavkat Rakhmonov to win by KO/TKO/DQ or submission is -150 with DraftKings.
Jalin Turner vs. Mateusz Gamrot
We expect fireworks when Jalin Turner and Mateusz Gamrot meet as two of lightweight's most promising stars put on an intriguing battle.
Turner has been sensational since his struggles in the early days of his UFC career that saw him lose twice and beat only Callan Potter in his first three bouts. Ever since losing to Matt Frevola, however, the American has finished his next five fights inside the distance, with three submission wins and two TKO victories.
Gamrot was defeated by Beneil Dariush last time in a unanimous decision loss. This is not a stain on his record, as Dariush is arguably the next title contender in this division. It was also Gamrot's second-ever defeat in MMA, as he also defeated rising star Arman Tsarukyan last June.
It’s a tough fight to call, with both men possessing exceptional qualities in jiu-jitsu and having a combined record of 14 wins via KO/TKO. Either way, we expect the fight to finish inside the distance.
Fight to not go the distance is -200 with DraftKings.
Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett
At odds of -2200 on his UFC debut, it seems this fight only has one winner, with Bo Nickal expected to steamroll through Jamie Pickett.
Nickal heads into this fight with just three professional MMA bouts, winning all of them in the first round. In fact, from a total potential fight time of 45 minutes, the wrestling phenom has spent less than three minutes inside the cage.
Pickett has lost his last two fights against Kyle Daukaus and Denis Tiuliulin, as he's beaten only Laureano Staropoli and Joseph Holmes in his UFC career to tally a record of two wins and four losses in the organization.
There’s only one winner here, and the question is simply surrounding how Nickal will win.
Bo Nickal by submission is -170 with FanDuel.
Other Betting Options
Be first to get our exclusive offers!
Join today to stay up to date on your states gambling news and offers.