If you’re thirsty for the rare UFC pay-per-view event that bridges the gap between casual mixed martial arts fans and the hardcore crowd, UFC 285 on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas should hit the spot.
One of the sport’s greatest and most polarizing fighters, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones’ Jones is looking for another level of greatness.
On Saturday, Jones attempts to win a championship in his second division when he faces Cyril Gane for the vacant UFC Heavyweight title.
Here is everything you need to know about the event.
How To Watch
- Date: Saturday, March 4
- Time: Early Prelims at 5:30pm, Main Card begins at 10pm (All Times Eastern)
- Location: T-Mobile in Las Vegas, Nevada
- How to Watch: ESPN+ PPV
Card and Weigh-In Results
- Jon Jones (248) vs. Ciryl Gane (247.5) – For Vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship
- (c) Valentina Shevchenko (124.5) vs. Alexa Grasso (124.5) – For UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship
- Geoff Neal (175) vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (171)
- Mateusz Gamrot (156) vs. Jalin Turner (155.5)
- Bo Nickal (185.5) vs. Jamie Pickett (186)
- Cody Garbrandt (136) vs. Trevin Jones (135)
- Derek Brunson (185.5) vs. Dricus du Plessis (185)
- Viviane Araujo (126) vs. Amanda Ribas (126)
- Julian Marquez (186) vs. Marc-Andre Barriault (185)
- Ian Garry (171) vs. Kenan Song (171)
- Cameron Saaiman (135) vs. Leomana Martinez (137)
- Jessica Penne (116) vs. Tabatha Ricci (115.5)
- Da’Mon Blackshear (136) vs. Farid Basharat (136)
- Esteban Ribovics (156) vs. Loik Radzhabov (155.5)
Bold – Missed Weight
What’s On The Line?
Jones’ Chance to Improve His G.O.A.T Case
No fighter in history has ever dominated the light heavyweight division like Jones. In fact, few aside from Demetrious Johnson and Anderson Silva have reigned over any division with as much domination as Bones.
Jones hasn’t lost a fight since 2009, and that defeat came via controversial disqualification. Bones won the light heavyweight title with a masterful TKO victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 2011. Since that win, Jones has beaten every light heavyweight with any level of noteworthy accomplishment during his era.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson (twice), Glover Teixeira, Daniel Cormier (twice), Dan Henderson, Ovince Saint Preux, Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes have all fallen to Bones.
However, it has been more than three years since Jones has competed in MMA. The oft-troubled great is also moving up to heavyweight to face a bigger opponent than he’s ever tangled with Gane.
Gane recently lost his previous attempt to win the heavyweight crown when he dropped a unanimous decision to former champ Francis Ngannou in January 2022. However, Gane rebounded with an impressive KO win over the rough and rugged Tai Tuivasa in September 2022.
With Ngannou vacating the belt and leaving the promotion, Gane is getting a second opportunity to claim the crown, but he will have to best a future Hall-of-Famer in the process.
If Jones wins, it will be tough to dispute his argument for the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. Georges St-Pierre would be the only fighter with a resume across multiple weight classes that can compare.
In Saturday night’s main event, we will either see a man stand firmly on his case as the G.O.A.T of his sport, or question if his extended time away and leap in divisions were too much to overcome.
Can Shevchenko Continue Her Dominance?
Valentina Shevchenko will attempt to defend her UFC Women’s Flyweight title for the eight time since winning it back in 2018 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Shevchenko has been as dominant in her division as Jones was in his, but she hasn’t stockpiled wins over a list of opponents whose names carry the same weight.
Still, she has seemingly cleaned out her division multiple times and Shevchenko’s current run will almost certainly land her in the promotion’s Hall of Fame.
The challenger is on a four-fight win streak since dropping a decision to former UFC Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza in 2019. That was Grasso’s last fight at 115 pounds before moving up and setting her sights on Shevchenko.
The soon-to-be 35-year-old (her birthday is March 7) isn’t quite ready to call it a career and her opposition on Saturday, Alexa Grasso could make things interesting.
Grasso is coming off a unanimous-decision win over Vivian Araujo in October 2022. Shevchenko hasn’t fought since June 2022 when she took a split decision over Taila Santos. It was the first time during Shevchenko’s reign that she didn’t defend her title by stoppage or unanimous decision.
Was it a precursor to a loss or just a slight bump on the road to the Hall of Fame?
Prelim Bouts That Are Worth Your Time
Can the Former Bantamweight Champion Return to Form?
Back in December 2016, Cody Garbrandt had masterfully dismantled Dominick Cruz en route to a unanimous-decision win, capturing the UFC Bantamweight title.
Unfortunately for Garbrandt, things went downhill from there as he suffered back-to-back KO losses to bitter rival TJ Dillashaw, followed by another KO defeat to Pedro Munhoz. While Garbrandt did score a highlight-reel KO win over Raphael Assuncao in 2020, the victory was followed by another losing streak with losses to Rob Font and Kai Kara France.
It’s been a little over a year since Garbrandt competed. He has fallen out of the UFC’s Top 10 and now finds himself fighting on the prelims, when at one point that seemed like an absurd concept.
Garbrandt is facing another 135-pounder desperately in need of a win in Trevin Jones. The latter is on his own two-fight losing streak and the loser of this bout is bound to fall even lower on the UFC’s pecking order, or perhaps out of the promotion all together.
Can Garbrandt regain his form and head back up the latter? That question makes this fight one of the most compelling prelim bouts on the schedule.