The UFC returns to Las Vegas for a huge pay-per-view card that will see a brand new undisputed heavyweight champion crowned, when Jon Jones returns from a three-year layoff to face Ciryl Gane at UFC 285.
After Francis Ngannou was released from his contract while holding the belt, we'll now have a new champion with two of the most complete heavyweight fighters ever going at it for the belt.
In the co-main event we'll also see women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defend her title once again against Alexa Grasso as she looks to cement herself as the best 125-pound female fighter or all time.
We'll break down the main event between two of the best fighters in the business right now and see if we can earn you some extra cash with our best free UFC picks to earn you some extra cash.
Learn more about how to bet on the UFC here.
UFC 285 information
- Saturday, March 4th, 2023
- T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Main card starts at 10pm ET
- Undisputed Heavyweight Championship fight (220-265lbs)
- 5 x 5 minute rounds
UFC 285: Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane
A stacked heavyweight division just got even stronger with the addition of the consensus greatest of all-time Jon Jones, moving up from light heavyweight where he dominated for the best part of a decade.
"Bones" holds a professional record of 26-1, with his only defeat coming by way of disqualification against Matt Hamill in a decision that has largely been deemed as ridiculous since it happened.
Jones has beaten a who's who of 205-pound greats, with victories over Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, Mauricio Rua, Rashad Evans, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Glover Teixeira.
Most recently he claimed victories over Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes, but he hasn't fought since before the pandemic.
He has claimed ten knockout victories and six submissions during his career, but he last claimed a finish back in December 2018 when he ground-and-pounded Gustafsson in the third-round of their rematch.
Play Now100% bonus up to $1000
Play Now100% up to $1,000
Play Now100% up to $500
Play Now100% up to $300
Play Now50% up to $1000
Play Now$500 Sign Up Bonus
Play Now100% up to $500 + $500 at BetDsi's Casino
Play Now$500 Sign-up Bonus
Play Now100% up to $500
Gane alternatively has been regarded as the leader of the new wave of heavyweight fighters, with phenomenal striking skills and elite movement.
His professional career is still in it's early stages, but he has managed to amass a record of 11-1 including five knockouts and three submissions. His most recent win came via a brutal knockout against Tai Tuivasa at UFC Paris, in a showing that proved he has plenty of heart in the face of adversity too.
Prior to that he lost in a title fight against Ngannou, where he forced one of the most fearsome strikers in the world to become a wrestler because he was having his way with him on the feet.
He's previously claimed wins against Junior Dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Alexander Volkov and Derrick Lewis.
Check out our review for BetOnline sports betting here.
Route to victory
This is an incredibly difficult fight to predict, because Jones' layoff is so big but also it's his first fight at heavyweight.
During his all-time run in the light heavyweight division, Jones would dominate his opponents however he wanted to with his fantastic array of skills.
His wrestling is among the best ever in the UFC, but his striking is also fantastic with the longest reach in the UFC allowing him to land huge elbows and knees as well as strikes. He's also a phenomenal grappler and submission artist, but he will have a new frame to work with against much bigger guys than he has fought before.
Gane on the other hand will be fighting a smaller opponent than he has previously, and he has got the striking skills and size to more than match up with Jones in all areas of the bout.
Going off what we know about these fighters, Jones' best bet of getting the win is to use his wrestling just like Ngannou did. There is no doubting that Jones is a better wrestler than Ngannou ever was, and he should be able to use his size to drag him down and control Gane on the mat while landing slicing elbows and working for submissions.
For Gane it's more of the same. He needs to use his footwork and movement to get in and out of distance while landing powerful strikes, and avoid getting into a grappling match and ending up on his back.
UFC picks: Jon Jones' triumphant return
As mentioned, this is a ridiculously tough fight to predict because of so many unknown factors.
But Jones is the consensus greatest of all-time for a reason, and that makes it incredibly difficult to see him losing. As far as we've seen, there hasn't been a way to beat a motivated Jones before, but there is a clear route to victory to beat Gane that "Bones" can execute.
Expect a relatively slow start to the fight with both guys feeling each other out, before Jones shoots in for a big double leg takedown and works his wrestling and grappling game to control Gane on the mat and claim a stoppage win to send out a statement that the GOAT is back.
Check out our review for BetUS sports betting here.