UFC 285 is a stacked night of fights, headlined by the return of all-time great Jon Jones as he takes on Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight belt. We have been tearing it up in 2023 from a prediction perspective with a 45-13 tally to date, which was bolstered by a 9-1 effort on the previous fight night. We got a tonne of value last week in Brendan Allen at $2.80, Sakai at $1.93 and sided with Tatiana Suarez to round out a perfect edition of best bets. Hoping for the same success this weekend, let’s get into it!
BEST BET #1 | Tabatha Ricci H2H @$1.38
Jessica Penne has made a career out of her grappling control, but Ricci is a much more dangerous grappler and will be far more aggressive on the feet. There is a significant age gap, and I can really see Tabatha being the faster and more threatening fighter in all aspects of this matchup.
BEST BET #2 | Cyril Gane H2H @$2.35
Jon Jones controversy aside has to be considered the greatest of all time. His run at light heavyweight with the names he has been able to not just beat, but beat empathetically is legendary. But MMA evolves very quickly, and Jones has over 3 years out of competition whilst he prepared for his transition to Heavyweight.
Jones’ move up to heavyweight has been a long process, which from a strength, conditioning and body composition perspective I really like. But at 35 years old after being inactive, I question whether he will have the timing and speed that he is infamous for. Jones has always had skinny legs, which helps explosivity but is not favorable for durability when kicked, a weapon that Gane uses very effectively.
I have gone on record saying Cyril Gane would be the man I would put in the octagon to beat anyone in an open weight contest. It did not age particularly well after his title shot against former teammate Francis Ngannou, where his fight IQ was really questionable in the 5th round, and he was far too easy to take down. All that aside, he lost to the baddest man on the planet 48-47, and looked impressive apart from the weaknesses I just highlighted.
Obviously Jones is a brutal striker that really was ahead of the times. He’s devastating in the clinch, and most importantly for this bout he has a decorated wrestling background. In his UFC 232-247 span of 4 victories, Jones has landed a total of 6 takedowns, and I feel that he can do a lot with it if he can get the Frenchmen to the ground.
However, Cyril has been the more active fighter recently, he is massive for the weight class and has the striking advantage in my opinion. He is a proven heavyweight contender, and to get plus money against a Jon Jones that did not look particularly good in his last bout against Dominick Reyes 3 years ago, as he makes a massive weight transformation, is worth the risk in my eyes.
Of course, Jones could look like his vintage self, land takedowns and be versatile and dangerous as ever on the feet. But I just see too many questions with the all-time great in this particular matchup, and I can see Ciryl matching Jones’ striking prowess and using his size to defeat Jon.
PARLAY FILLER #1 | Valentina Shevchenko H2H @$1.14
Valentina Shevchenko is my lock for the week. She’s super well-rounded whereas Grasso is more or less a volume striker. I cannot see Grasso hurting Valentina throughout 25 mins, whereas Valentina can win this fight wherever it goes.
PARLAY FILLER #2 | Shavkat Rakhmonov H2H @$1.20
Shavkat Rakhmonov is a problem. He has the well rounded skills to run through the welterweight division, and I expect his stock to rise astronomically with a big win over Geoff Neal. Neal has technical kickboxing, and developed some great power which is always a threat. But I expect Shavkat to smother him and finish it quickly on the ground.
PARLAY FILLER #3 | Bo Nickal H2H @$1.06
Bo Nickal should be fast tracked for success, and being placed in a prevalent position on a big main card, it looks like he’s poised to enter the rankings very soon. He is one of the best wrestlers to ever enter the octagon, and showcased he has power in his strikes and a knack to find submissions on the ground. His opponent Jamie Pickett has power on the feet, but will not be able to keep Nickal off of him. I expect a first round stoppage from the prospect to propel his stock on a big platform.
Overs or Unders
Not only did we enjoy a successful prediction week, but we also bounced back in a big way on our round totals segment, with a 70% success rate on what mostly is pick’em odds.
Thanks for tuning in once again, I hope you all enjoy the fights this weekend! If you are having a bet this weekend make sure you do your own research and gamble responsibly.