UFC 285 Predictions: Does Jon Jones Still Have The Killer Instinct?
(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
— Updated on 6 March 2023

UFC 285 Predictions: Does Jon Jones Still Have The Killer Instinct?

— Updated on 6 March 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Welcome to Octagon Oracle. Each week, we’ll set aside some time to break down the other sweet science in anticipation of the upcoming UFC event. This edition covers UFC 285 predictions, betting odds, and just a dash of armchair analysis (main card). Enjoy the hostilities and gamble responsibly.

Weeks after Alexander Volkanovski’s performance of a lifetime against Islam Makhachev (and on home soil, no less), the GOAT debate has already been reignited by the imminent return of Jon Jones.

Setting aside all the extra-curricular controversies, USADA politics, and ad hominem criticisms, his accomplishments are simply undeniable: youngest champion in UFC history (23 years of age), 11 successful title defences, longest light heavyweight championship run in UFC history (1,501) days, longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18 fights), plus despite being away from competition for three years, he still ranks #10 on the UFC’s pound-for-pound list.

Now, whether he deserves to be P4P-ranked or should be considered the GOAT ahead of far more active fighters is something to be explored another time in a completely separate article. Because the real question on everyone’s mind as he looks to capture heavyweight gold is: does the man still have “it”?

RELATED: Whether You Like It Or Not, Jon Jones Is The GOAT

Here are our predictions for UFC 285: Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane.


UFC 285 Predictions (Main Card)

INGLEWOOD, CA – DECEMBER 29: Jon Jones celebrates after defeating Alexander Gustafsson of Sweden in their light heavyweight bout during the UFC 232 event inside The Forum on December 29, 2018 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane (Odds & Prediction)

  • Division: Heavyweight
  • Records: Jon Jones (26-1-1 MMA, 20-1-1 UFC) | Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC)
  • Recent Performance: Jon Jones (4-0-1) | Ciryl Gane (4-1)
  • Rankings: Jon Jones – Unranked (Returning); #10 Pound-For-Pound | Ciryl Gane – #1
  • Boss Bet Odds: Jon Jones – $1.60 | Ciryl Gane – $2.35

Armchair Analysis

Aside from the current pound-for-pound king himself, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another MMA fighter that’s more complete than Jon Jones. To paraphrase Anthony Smith, his individual skillsets aren’t the problem. It’s the cohesion of all the moving parts is what makes him so formidable.

Ciryl Gane, on the other hand, occupies the other end of the spectrum. Elite kickboxer? No doubt. But this isn’t kickboxing. And if Francis Ngannou’s wrestling is enough to stop you at this level, you’re bound to face even greater difficulty down the line. As much as the striking exchanges and clinching will be competitive, Jonny Bones simply has more tools to rely on than Bon Gamin.

The only factor we cannot possibly account for at the current stage is Jones’ health and how he’ll actually fare in a heavier weight division (a division that many maintain is closer to his natural weight). First-glance criticisms fired his way involve the speed and snap of his punches. Or rather, the lack thereof. Who knows…

On the basis of the old Jon Jones, and because Dana White surely wouldn’t have given him an eight-fight deal if he wasn’t on form, our bet’s still on the Hall of Famer for the vacant UFC heavyweight throne.

Valentina Shevchenko vs Alexa Grasso (Odds & Prediction)

  • Division: Flyweight
  • Records: Valentina Shevchenko (23-3- MMA, 12-2 UFC) | Alexa Grasso (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC)
  • Recent Performance: Valentina Shevchenko (5-0) | Alexa Grasso (5-0)
  • Rankings: Valentina Shevchenko – #2 | Alexa Grasso – #5
  • Boss Bet Odds: Valentina Shevchenko – $1.16 | Alexa Grasso – $5.40

Armchair Analysis

It was certainly a tough night at the office for Valentina Shevchenko during her last fight against Taila Santos, which ended in a controversial split decision victory for the Bullet (read: robbery).

Still, this doesn’t change the fact she’s a dominant force to be reckoned with who has (practically) been unbeaten since tasting defeat at the hands of yet another world-beater in Amanda Nunes back in 2017; and capable of making the likes of Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Jéssica Andrade look out of their depths.

MMA is a game of calibres, and when placed side by side against someone of Shevchenko’s level, it’s hard to see how someone like Alexa Grasso can possibly compare.

Our bet’s on the reigning champ Valentina Shevchenko.

Geoff Neal vs Shavkat Rakhmonov (Odds & Prediction)

  • Division: Welterweight
  • Records: Geoff Neal (15-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) | Shavkat Rakhmonov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC)
  • Recent Performance: Geoff Neal (3-2) | Shavkat Rakhmonov (5-0)
  • Rankings: Geoff Neal – #7 | Shavkat Rakhmonov – #9
  • Boss Bet Odds: Geoff Neal – $5.00 | Shavkat Rakhmonov – $1.18

Armchair Analysis

Every lion needs to be fed from time to time, and in the case of undefeated Khamzat Chimaev-level sensation Shavkat Rakhmonov, his next meal looks to be Geoff Neal.

With a 100% finish rate, this latest division boogeyman is properly lethal on his feet and on the canvas. We’d be extrmely surprised if this goes the distance.

To make matters worse, Neal is reportedly recovering from an “undisclosed injury,” having originally been scheduled to face certain death back in January for UFC Fight Night: Kelvin Gastelum Sean Strickland vs Nassourdine Imavov.

Our bet’s on Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Mateusz Gamrot vs Jalin Turner (Odds & Prediction)

  • Division: Lightweight
  • Records: Mateusz Gamrot (21-2-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) | Jalin Turner (13-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC)
  • Recent Performance: Mateusz Gamrot (4-1) | Jalin Turner (5-0)
  • Rankings: Mateusz Gamrot – #7 | Jalin Turner – #10
  • Boss Bet Odds: Mateusz Gamrot – $1.45 | Jalin Turner – $2.79

Armchair Analysis

Mateusz Gamrot may have failed his first test against the ever-impressive Beneil Dariush during UFC 280, you cannot ignore the glimpses of MMA greatness we’ve encountered from him thus far.

More importantly, he’s proven to be mighty durable in the face adversity. Or at least a mean overhand left from old Benny. Few can claim they’ve been sat down by something that would’ve shut the lights off with lesser competitors, only to immediately scramble for a takedown attempt in earnest.

So does Jalin Turner have the striking prowess, power, and wrestling ability to tame Gamrot? And our assertion is a firm “no.”

Our bet’s on Mateusz Gamrot.

Bo Nickal vs Jamie Pickett (Odds & Prediction)

  • Division: Middleweight
  • Records: Bo Nickal (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) | Jamie Pickett (13-8 MMA, 2-4 UFC)
  • Recent Performance: Bo Nickal (3-0) | Jamie Pickett (2-3)
  • Rankings: Bo Nickal – Unranked | Jamie Pickett – Unranked
  • Boss Bet Odds: Bo Nickal – $1.06 | Jamie Pickett – $9.50

Armchair Analysis

We’ve explained why UFC debutante Bo Nickal is such a dangerous man on a previous occasion. There’s a reason why he’s in the big leagues after just three MMA fights (two in Dana White’s Contender Series). To make a very long story short, The Allen Assassin is one of the most decorated wrestlers of his generation and an elite combat sports athlete.

During his college years, Nickal earned the title of three-time NCAA Division I National Champion (finalist in 2016) as well as three-time Big Ten Conference champion out of Pennsylvania State University. He was also a four-time All-American.

In freestyle wrestling, Nickal claimed the 2019 U23 World Championship and the US Open National championship for his own, while also being a finalist at the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials.

“Considered one of the most accomplished Nittany Lions of all-time, Bo Nickal earned the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate wrestler, was a two-time Schalles Award winner as the nation’s best pinner, and also named the 2019 Big Ten Athlete of the Year.”

What’s even more impressive/terrifying than Bo Nickal’s wrestling pedigree is his ability to develop an MMA toolbox. And we’re not just talking about his striking skillset, either.

Bo Nickal: The UFC Has Just Signed A Very Dangerous Man
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 27: Bo Nickal reacts after his submission victory over Donovan Beard in a middleweight fight during Dana White’s Contender Series season six, week ten at UFC APEX on September 27, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Three years ago, Nickal participated in a submission grappling superfight against the indomitable Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Gordon Ryan, which was insane for several reasons.

For one, while you’d assume there’s a massive overlap between wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in a competitive context, they’re almost completely different animals. Bo Nickal entered the lion’s den at Third Coast Grappling 3 with two BJJ training sessions under his belt and a major hole in his overall game, given the lifetime of competition without submissions.

For another, Gordon Ryan is perhaps the greatest submission grappler of the 21st century. For reference, the five-time ADCC world champion and two-time IBJJF no-gi world champion with a professional record of 152-9 is essentially submission grappling’s answer to prime Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Lewis Hamilton, Roger Federer, etc.

During their encounter, Ryan would defeat Nickal on the mats via what was probably a foreign concept for the latter: a triangle choke. Fast forward to present day and Nickal is now finishing seasoned MMA pros with the very same submission.

As reflected by the hilariously lopsided odds, our bet’s on Bo Nickal.

UFC 285: Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane goes down this Sunday at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada (Main Card Local Time – March 5th of 2023, 2 PM [AEDT]).

Keen to take a punt on UFC 285: Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane after reading these predictions? Get in on the action below.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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