UFC 285 Odds, Model Predictions & Picks: Betting Previews for All 14 Fights

UFC 285 Odds, Model Predictions & Picks: Betting Previews for All 14 Fights article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane

On Saturday at UFC 285, the UFC returns to T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for a 14-fight card headlined by a pair of title bouts in the men's heavyweight and women's flyweight divisions.

After a three-year hiatus, Jon Jones returns to face Frenchman Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title. Additionally, Valentina Shevchenko will seek her eighth consecutive title defense when she meets Mexico's Alexa Grasso in the co-main event.

The preliminary card begins at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass before simulcasting on ESPN beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The five-fight main card will commence at 10 p.m. ET via ESPN+ pay-per-view.

After examining all betting options, a typical UFC card can offer substantial actionable value.

So, in addition to moneylines and over/unders, I’ll break down how I plan to bet every fight on the card, including exact winning methods, winning round props, and whether or not the match will go to a decision or finish inside the distance.

Fight times are approximate and subject to change. All times ET.

Click on a fight to skip ahead
1. Loik Radzhabov vs. Esteban Ribovics
5:30 p.m. ET
2. Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat
6 p.m. ET
3. Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci
6:30 p.m. ET
4. Cameron Saaiman vs. Leomana Martinez
7 p.m. ET
5. Ian Garry vs. Song Kenan
7:30 p.m. ET
6. Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
8 p.m. ET
7. Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas
8:30 p.m. ET
8. Derek Brunson vs. Dricus du Plessis
9 p.m. ET
9. Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones
9:30 p.m. ET
10. Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett
10 p.m. ET
11. Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner
10:30 p.m. ET
12. Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
11 p.m. ET
13. Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso
11:30 p.m. ET
14. Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane
Midnight ET

UFC 285 Projected Odds

Below, you can find my fair odds moneyline projection for each of Saturday's 14 bouts. In the next section, you'll discover forecasts for those fights to finish inside the distance or for each fighter to win by Decision, knockout, or submission.

Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings.

UFC 285 Prop Projections

In addition to creating a crowdsourced projection for moneyline plays, I also collect data on each fighter to win by decision, knockout or submission, enabling us to determine fair odds for each fight to go the distance or for each fighter to win inside of the distance.

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UFC 285 Odds

Loik Radzhabov vs. Esteban Ribovics

Lightweight BoutOdds
Loik Radzhabov Odds+200
Esteban Ribovics Odds-240
Over/under rounds2.5 (+105 / -135)

Crowdsourced Projections: Loik Radzhabov (74.3%)

Ribovics earned his contract on Contender Series on Aug. 16 with a first-round knockout win, but there are a ton of unknowns surrounding his overall game. He has an 11-0 record with a 100% finish rate, but all of the fighters he faced before Contender Series are complete unknowns from a low-level regional scene.

Loik Radzhabov is a PFL veteran who has never been finished professionally. He should have a grappling advantage in this matchup, but it is coming on short notice.

While I would generally anticipate Radzhabov carrying a cardio advantage against a finish-reliant fighter, I'll nullify that assumption since he accepted the fight on short notice.

I show value on Radzhabov's moneyline, his decision prop, and his odds to win by submission or decision (projected -146, listed -125 at FanDuel).

Alternatively, consider betting an SGP with Radzhabov at DraftKings, likely with the Over 1.5 Rounds (+105).

Radzhabov may wash him out with one takedown, but I expect Ribovics to stay competitive for one round before faltering.


  • SGP (+105, 0.25 units at DraftKings) Loik Radzhabov & Over 1.5 Rounds

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Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat

Bantamweight BoutOdds
Da’Mon Blackshear Odds+360
Farid Basharat Odds-450
Over/under rounds2.5 (-175 / +140)

Crowdsourced Projections: Farid Basharat (80.2%)

Da’Mon Blackshear gave a good account of himself as a short-notice underdog against Youssef Zalal. He won the first two rounds before gassing out and losing a 10-8 round three to receive a draw.

He's getting a more difficult matchup here against the highly touted Farid Basharat, whom many consider the better prospect of the two Basharat brothers.

While both Basharat brothers are well-rounded and technical fighters with excellent cardio, neither has excellent physicality relative to his hivision. And that deficit could cost them in certain matchups.

While Basharat should win the striking exchanges, Blackshear is adept at turning his fights into grappling matches, and he's extremely strong on the mat.

However, unless he manages to consolidate top position in separate round – or snatch a submission in a scramble – Blackshear could have difficulty winning this fight; Basharat has him covered, skill for skill.

That said, the physicality differential could make this a competitive matchup early on, and I don't see value in this fight from any perspective, so I am happy to pass.


  • Pass

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Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci

Women's Strawweight BoutOdds
Jessica Penne Odds+245
Tabatha Ricci Odds-295
Over/under rounds2.5 (-315 / +245)

Crowdsourced Projections: Tabatha Ricci (68.8%)

Jessica Penne is my favorite underdog bet on the card (aside from Viviane Araujo, who is essentially in a pick'em). The American should be competitive in – if not outright win – the striking against Tabata Ricci. She is four inches taller and owns a six-inch reach advantage.

Ricci possesses the grappling advantage and the majority of the finishing upside. However, this fight is highly likely to reach a decision per oddsmakers (as high as -315, 75.9% implied).

And if the fight lasts 15 minutes, it's unlikely that Ricci dominates significantly enough to justify her steep moneyline price.

If Ricci lands takedowns, Penne won't accept the bottom position and lay on her back. That's what happened with Ricci's most recent opponent, Polyana Viana. She will look to scramble back to her feet and re-engage in a kickboxing match, where her length should prove significant.

And while Ricci is a dangerous submission grappler, I trust Penne's defensive jiu-jitsu to defend against any threats on the ground from her opponent. Penne likely has a cardio advantage too; I don't love how Ricci looks down the stretch in fights.

I projected Penne as a +220 underdog and would bet her moneyline down to +235. I also projected her decision prop closer to +350 and would bet that prop down to +400.

Lastly, given her anticipated cardio advantage, I would look to live bet Penne after Round 1 – at the same price or better.

I expect a much closer matchup than the oddsmakers suggest, and seeing the decision prop juiced so heavily next to a steep favorite is a bit rare.


  • Jessica Penne (+250, 0.4u at WynnBet)
  • Jessica Penne wins by Decision (+400, 0.1u at DraftKings)
  • Jessica Penne Live after Round 1

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Cameron Saaiman vs. Leomana Martinez

137-pound Catchweight BoutOdds
Cameron Saaiman Odds-260
Leomana Martinez Odds+220
Over/under rounds2.5 (-105 / -125)

Crowdsourced Projections: Cameron Saaiman (73.4%).`

This is a sneaky candidate for Fight of the Night, as Leomana Martinez will look to counter the pressuring Cameron Saaiman with his power shots.

Unlike other power strikers on the roster who lost their power as they tire, Martinez looks visibly worn out – but still carries his power until the end of the fight. He nearly knocked out Ronnie Lawrence – twice, after getting dominated for 10 minutes.

Martinez missed weight on Friday, potentially complicating questions surrounding his already-suspect cardio. Still, I don't think it will hurt his chances of winning too severely.

Saaiman likely has the grappling edge; Martinez has shown poor takedown defense and low urgency in getting off his back. Saaiman displayed competent grappling chops in his UFC debut against Steven Koslow, and I like how he blends his striking and grappling.

Saaiman is the more well-rounded and enthusiastic fighter and the likelier minute winner, but Mana could sway the outcome with a couple of well-timed knockdowns or a finish.

Saaiman is a very technical offensive striker, especially for his age, but he has openings on the defensive end that Martinez can exploit.

I expect a high-paced affair and anticipate a finish, and I expect Saaiman to take over down the stretch. I bet an SGP with Saaiman and the Over 1.5 Rounds (+100) at DraftKings since I feel the vast majority of his finish equity is tied to an accumulation of damage, rather than one-punch power.

If Saaiman somehow loses Round 1, I would jump in on his live line at a better price; his pace should continue to build as the fight wears on.


  • SGP (+100, 0.25u): Saaiman & Over 1.5 Rounds
  • Cameron Saaiman Live after Round 1

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Ian Garry vs. Song Kenan

Welterweight BoutOdds
Ian Garry Odds-700
Song Kenan Odds+510
Over/under rounds1.5 (-125 / -105)

Crowdsourced Projections: Ian Garry (89.3%)

I'm still unsure what to make of Ian Garry as a prospect. He's long for the division (three inches taller, three-inch reach advantage against Song Kenan) and has a well-rounded skillset.

Still, he doesn't seem particularly powerful, strong or specialized in any singular area. He throws the same combinations repeatedly and rarely goes to his grappling when he has a clear advantage.

On Saturday, he has a clear grappling edge against Song, a powerful striker with poor takedown defense (50%). Garry can win the fight standing, but he should be entirely out of danger if he secures takedowns and top position.

I expect Garry to find opportunities to find his first UFC (and second career) submission if he pursues a grappling-heavy game plan.

Garry by decision (projected +273, listed +290 at FanDuel) or Garry by submission (projected +646, listed +750 at BetRivers) are options.

I would consider that submission prop in a Round Robin (to +600); otherwise, I will pass on betting on this fight.


  • Pass

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Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

Middleweight BoutOdds
Julian Marquez Odds+130
Marc-Andre Barriault Odds-150
Over/under rounds1.5 (-180 / +145)

Crowdsourced Projections: Marc-Andre Barriault (62.4%)

While I show value on the over or goes distance props in this matchup (projected +130, listed +168 at FanDuel), this could be a high-paced affair – and potential Fight of the Night contender – between two middleweights who are flawed defensively.

Coming off multiple injuries and a three-year layoff, Marquez took our money in the third round of his fight against Maki Pitolo, securing a submission with under a minute remaining after losing the first two rounds. Following a win over Sam Alvey, Marquez was wobbled multiple times and eventually finished by Gregory Rodrigues last June.

I never love when a fighter comes back in less than a year from a knockout of that caliber, but Barrialut should be closer to Marquez's level of athleticism than the dynamic "Robocop."

Barriault pours volume on his opponents, averaging nearly 12 strike attempts per minute, but he takes nearly one strike for each that he gives (+0.52 significant strike margin). Marquez is a bit more calculated – and loads up a touch more on each of his punches – but he is no more efficient than his opponent (+0.34 strike margin).

Typically, Barriault struggles against grapplers, and while Marquez has an excellent front choke series, he has never completed a takedown in his UFC career.

In addition to the over, or goes the distance prop, I also show value on Barriault's moneyline (projected -166, listed -150). We can combine those opinions into an SGP at DraftKings with Barriault and Over 0.5 Rounds (-125) or Over 1.5 Rounds (+140).

He's the likelier minute winner on volume, and I view the finishing upside as relatively even for either fighter.

I'm inclined to lay the juice, play the over half a round, and take a 25-cent discount. Barriault has two career wins inside the first 2.5 minutes (and a win over Jordan Wright at 2:36 of the first round). He is not a one-punch knockout artist – but an attritional finisher – and Marquez has never gone away quickly in his career.

If you're interested in juicier prices, the fight goes the distance prop (+168 at FanDuel), and Barriault by decision (projected +167, listed +285 at BetRivers) offer a significant edge relative to listed odds.

I will bet the Over 0.5 Rounds SGP, sprinkle Barriault by Decision, and look to bet him live after Round 1 if he happens to fall behind.


  • Marc-Andre Barriault Wins by Decision (+270, 0.1u at Caesars)
  • SGP: Barriault & Over 1.5 Rounds (-125, Risk 0.5u at DraftKings)
  • Marc-Andre Barriault Live after Round 1

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Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas

Women's Flyweight BoutOdds
Viviane Araujo Odds+100
Amanda Ribas Odds-120
Over/under rounds2.5 (-265 / +210)

Crowdsourced Projections: Viviane Araujo (54%)

While many underdog backers thought Amanda Ribas won her last fight against Katlyn Chookagian – and she may have – I suspect the physicality difference and her lack of power in the 125-pound division may have cost her the fight.

Ribas wasn't a particularly big strawweight, and I'm surprised to see her stay at flyweight, where I think she likes the physicality to compete with the division's elite. Ribas is an elite judoka and jiu-jitsu practitioner, and her striking has improved tremendously; I didn't expect her to compete with Chookagian on the feet as well as she did.

That said, I don't think she can implement her best game plan (grappling) as well against flyweights as she can against strawweights. If she cannot take down Viviane Arauajo, she may get slightly outpaced again and by an even more physical fighter this time.

I also like Arauajo coming in off of her first main event. While she never showed great cardio in three-round fights – typically fading in the third round – Araujo managed her gas tank reasonably well in a "more competitive than the scores" loss to Alexa Grasso (50-45, 49-46x2), and I was on Grasso in that fight.

That cage time and five-round experience likely aids Araujo's three-round cardio, and we may see a career-best effort from her this time out, dialing back to three rounds after a main event.

Araujo can keep the fight standing with her takedown defense (90%), and I view her as the better – and more powerful – striker. She also owns a two-inch reach advantage.

I projected Araujo as a slight favorite (54%) and would bet her down to -110.


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Derek Brunson vs. Dricus du Plessis

Middleweight BoutOdds
Derek Brunson Odds+185
Dricus du Plessis Odds-215
Over/under rounds1.5 (-155 / +125)

Crowdsourced Projections: Dricus Du Plessis (71.8%)

Dricus du Plessis is 10 years younger than Derek Brunson. As I often point out in these matchups, the younger fighter is typically undervalued, winning 69% of the time at average odds of -143 (58.8% implied).

In other words, when there is a 10-year age gap between two fighters, the younger fighter wins 10% more often than the betting market suggests. And considering the vig on moneyline bets, their win rate is likely closer to 12.5% more frequently than oddsmakers expect.

Brunson has never had particularly great cardio or durability, but his flaws are more glaring in the latter years of his career. The American has proven profitable for underdog backers, consistently fighting for their dollar and exceeding overall expectations.

However, I don't love this matchup for him against the well-rounded du Plessis, an extremely competent grappler with above-average power on the feet. Du Plessis has finished 17 of his 18 career victories, and the only win he didn't – against Brad Tavares – was one-sided; he beat Tavares to a pulp. Less-durable middleweights would have folded, and late-career Brunson falls in that category.

Brunson may win the first round of this fight. He has a powerful overhand and excellent offensive takedown. However, he has zero submission games and about six or seven minutes of cardio.

While du Plessis typically seems like he's gassing – because he has a strange habit of breathing with his mouth open – volume and cardio haven't been an issue.

I expect du Plessis to walk through the fire in the second and third rounds and eventually finish Brunson with attritional damage, ground and pound, or via submission. If Brunson doesn't finish the fight in the first round himself, I believe he is in serious trouble.

Both fighters wade into the pocket with their chins in the air, and I could see Brunson catching du Plessis in a high-variance exchange early. Otherwise, I think he will need multiple takedowns and extended top time to secure a decision, and du Plessis won't accept the bottom position.

I projected du Plessis to win inside the distance 57.5% of the time (-135 implied), and I would bet that prop up to about -125 (55.6%), at roughly a 2% edge compared to my number.

Despite Brunson never being submitted, I wouldn't risk the plus-money bet on his knockout prop (projected +114, listed+138 at BetRivers).

I would also consider playing du Plessis on the moneyline at -230 or better (projected -255) or in a parlay up to -240.

And look to bet du Plessis live if his moneyline narrows or stays the same after Round 1.


  • Dricus du Plessis Wins Inside the Distance (-110, 0.5u at BetMGM)
  • Parlay (-110, 0.2u at WynnBet): Dricus Du Plessis (-235) & Nickal/Pickett, Under 1.5 Rounds (-295)
  • Dricus du Plessis Live after Round 1

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Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones

Bantamweight BoutOdds
Cody Garbrandt Odds-175
Trevin Jones Odds+150
Over/under rounds1.5 (-135 / +105)

Crowdsourced Projections: Cody Garbrandt (61.4%)

Saturday's featured prelim could go either way in terms of excitement, as Cody Garbrandt, the former bantamweight champion on a current 1-5 skid (four by KO/TKO), faces Trevin Jones, who knocked out two UFC opponents (one overturned for marijuana use) before a trio of losses.

Both bantamweights carry power, but neither throws strikes at an exceptionally high clip or seemingly has a ton of process to their game. As a result, I expect to see a relatively low-tempo striking match that alternates between high-variance, explosive exchanges, and a staring contest.

Perhaps Garbrandt, an NCAA Division I-caliber collegiate wrestler, falls back on his base rather than relying on his brawling nature.

Once Garbrandt is in the octagon, he sees red. He starts swinging at his opponents rather than managing his explosiveness and measuring his attacks, as he did in his masterful championship win against Dominick Cruz.

If Garbrandt wrestles Jones, he can win a comfortable decision and mostly stay out of danger.

Still, it's hard to anticipate Garbrandt going into a fight these days and not putting himself in a position to get clipped.

Israel Adesanya's reaction to his teammate Kai Kara-France defeating Cody Garbrandtpic.twitter.com/ON8TLJsIoA

— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 26, 2022

And considering Jones' five-inch reach advantage, I'm inclined to say that he lands on Garbrandt's chin at some point early – unless Cody shoots a takedown first.

Garbrandt's chin has gotten to the point where you wince every time he eats a clean shot – because you expect him to wobble – and though he's coming back from a 15-month layoff following his last loss, that chin may be permanently cracked. And his speed at the lighter weight classes will only dissipate with age.

I like this fight to end inside the distance slightly more than the odds suggest (projected -283, listed -250 at Caesars); however, I could see Garbrandt taking the more optimal route (for once) and winning a wrestling-based decision.

Garbrandt by Decision (projected +443, listed +500 at FanDuel) or Jones by KO/TKO (projected +270, listed +325) are the recommended bets here; I prefer the latter.

And as always, Jones inside the distance (projected +225, listed +300 at BetMGM) is the superior option to the knockout prop. Weird things happen in MMA, and the edge is typically the same, if not greater, on the overall finish prop.


  • Trevin Jones wins Inside the Distance (+300, 0.25u at BetMGM)
  • Trevin Jones Wins by KO/TKO (+325, 0.1u at BetMGM)

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Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett

Middleweight BoutOdds
Bo Nickal Odds-1800
Jamie Pickett Odds+1000
Over/under rounds1.5 (+230 / -290)

Crowdsourced Projections: Bo Nickal (92%)

Most assume the question is how and when – not if – Bo Nickal will win his UFC debut on Saturday. The three-time Division I champion wrestler has plowed through three professional opponents, winning each of his fights in less than 62 seconds.

Based purely on his dominant grappling, Nickal could potentially beat current middleweight champion Alex Pereira or former champion Israel Adesanya immediately if given the opportunity.

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, however. We still don't know what Nickal's cardio or striking looks like in an extended fight. He is a dominant wrestler and a potent finisher on the mat, but whether he can maintain that finishing ability against UFC-level fighters is yet to be determined.

And if his UFC opponents can survive that grappling onslaught for at least a round and return to their feet for the second frame, will Nickal start to wilt at all? These are questions still yet to be answered for a fighter who is as high as -2000 (95.4% implied), maybe the most favored debutant in UFC history.

From a stylistic perspective, Jamie Pickett doesn't have much to offer. He defeats opponents by relying on the clinch, cage push and clock-killing rather than proactively damaging his opponents. His best path to victory is to attempt to survive early, hope Nickal tires and he eventually takes over, or high-roll a flash knockout somewhere.

I prefer Pickett by KO/TKO (projected +2184, listed +2300 at FanDuel) to the underdog moneyline. And I don't see an actionable way to bet on the favorite.

However, while the Under 1.5 Rounds (-320 at FanDuel) is incredibly chalky, I don't mind it as a parlay piece to have some action on the fight. I set the odds to end inside the distance closer to -800 and would parlay the Under 1.5 to -350.

While this is a mismatch, Nickal may want to show off his striking and search for the highlight-reel knockout on the PPV opener. In the same respect, he intends to climb the middleweight ladder quickly, and showcasing his dominance is the only path to the title.


  • Parlay (+488, 0.1u at FanDuel): Under 1.5 Rounds (-320) & Shevchenko/Grasso Over 3.5 Rounds (+100) & Gane/Jones Under 4.5 Rounds (+124)

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Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner

Lightweight BoutOdds
Mateusz Gamrot Odds-215
Jalin Turner Odds+185
Over/under rounds2.5 (+125 / -155)

Crowdsourced Projections: Mateusz Gamrot (68.6%)

Jalin Turner is a potent finisher and one of the most intriguing fighters on the roster as a 6-foot-3 lightweight with substantial physical advantages over all his opponents.

While Turner is four inches taller and will own a seven-inch reach advantage over Poland's Mateusz Gamrot, Turner is taking a step up in competition – while Gamrot finally sees some class relief.

Turner's last win over Brad Riddell, a 45-second submission, was undoubtedly impressive. Turner uses his length to generate submissions from angles fighters aren't accustomed to defending.

Still, that was the first ranked-caliber opponent (aside from his 2018 loss to Vicente Luque) that Turner faced. And he's never won a decision in his career.

Turner's wins over the likes of Brok Weaver, Uros Medic, Josh Culibao and Jamie Mullarkey – the remainder of his current five-fight winning streak – don't mean nearly as much as Gamrot throwing down with the top of the division for the past couple of years.

Gamrot has had competitive decisions with Arman Tsarukyan and Beneil Dariush, and finishes against former-ranked fighters such as Carlos Diego Fereira, Jeremy Stephens and Scott Holtzman. Even if you want to take away his win over Tsarukyan (a controversial decision), Gamrot covered his pricetag in that matchup. Additionally, he had a controversial split loss – his first career loss – in his UFC debut.

Gamrot took down and outgrappled Ferreira, Dariush and Tsarukyan – three of the best pure grapplers at 155 pounds –for significant stretches of his past three fights. And he should see far less resistance in this matchup, particularly after the first round.

Aside from his nasty guillotine, Turner is a world's away from those ranked fighters regarding defensive grappling. Gamrot attempts one takedown per minute at the UFC level, and if he can get Turner to the mat repeatedly – and avoid that guillotine – he should eventually tire out the tall fighter.

Turner needs to keep this fight standing and use his length and power to damage his smaller opponent over three rounds, but I'm uncertain that he can break Gamrot's pressure without hurting him.

As a result, I would prefer Turner's finish props to his moneyline, but in terms of a value bet, I like Gamrot to win by decision or submission (projected -120, listed -105 at FanDuel).

Gamrot should be able to land takedowns repeatedly and control Turner for long stretches – either on the mat or up against the fence – if not finish the fight against a tiring or reckless opponent.

Moreover, I would live bet Gamrot on the moneyline after Round 1; Turner may land more damage when both men are fresh, and Gamrot is often a slow starter who builds as he goes.


  • Mateusz Gamrot Wins by Decision or Submission (-105, 0.5u at FanDuel)
  • Mateusz Gamrot Live after Round 1

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Geoff Neal vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov

175-pound Catchweight BoutOdds
Geoff Neal Odds+370
Shavkat Rakhmonov Odds-460
Over/under rounds1.5 (-155 / +125)

Crowdsourced Projections: Shavkat Rakhmonov (79.7%)

Geoff Neal missed weight by four pounds on Friday and was fined 30% of his fight purse.

For most fighters, I'm more concerned with a minor miss (like Mana Martinez missing by a pound) than a more significant miss. I would rather bet on a fighter who stopped their weight cut – and may have a physical advantage – than back a fighter who did everything in their power to make weight and completely depleted their body but still didn't get there.

Neal is a different story. He dealt with multiple illnesses, including a bad case of COVID, septic shock, congestive heart failure and kidney failure in 2020, and he looked like a shell of his former self in losses to Stephen Thompson and Neal Magny that year.

He seemingly regained form in his August win over Vicente Luque, looking as explosive and powerful as ever. Still, Friday's weight miss calls into question whether Neal is dealing with some new, unknown ailment or injury that may affect his performance on Saturday.

Regardless of the weight miss, he is a massive underdog against Shavkat Rakhmonov, the scariest prospect at 170 aside from Khamzat Chimaev (and I might bet Shavkat if those two uber prospects fought tomorrow).

Rakhmonov styled on the likes of Neal Magny in his most recent bout. And he has displayed a beautifully dangerous array of kicks at striking range throughout his fights. Shavkat has finished all 18 of his professional opponents inside the distance.

Neal certainly presents a difficult test, however. The Texas native owns sturdy takedown defense (85%) and – pound for pound – one of the most powerful left hands in combat sports:

Everyone is rightfully hyped for Shavkat Rakhmanov, but let's not forget that Geoff Neal looked like a killer in his last fight, violently KOing Vicente Luque (the first man to do so) after a brutal, extended beating #UFC285pic.twitter.com/yC4jFRweM9

— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) February 25, 2023

Still, Neal is a better hammer than a nail; when things aren't going his way, he can get frustrated and shut down.

Rakhmonov is a great pressure fighter, but against Neal, he has to deny the pocket – and either play the outside range game with his reach advantage (two inches) and kicks or look to clinch Neal and drag him down to the mat.

While Neal has solid first-level takedown defense, his defensive jiu-jitsu is relatively untested, which makes analyzing a potential 19th consecutive finish for Rakhmonov so tricky.

Shavkat can turn any opponent into a pretzel and finish him via submission or flatten his face with his brutal hammerfists.

Neal certainly has a puncher's chance; he carries significant power for the division, and Rakhmonov has been wobbled regionally. Still, he will need to alternatively deny the takedowns and find ways to get in boxing range, where he can land flush.

Shavkat still has some questions about his cardio, and while I believe he's a future champion, the straight-up moneyline price dictates a dog-or-pass situation.

I do like the under in this spot. I projected the bout to end inside the distance 78% of the time (-354 implied odds). The betting market is closer to 70%, around -230. Technically, I would lay that up to around -300; consider betting it as a parlay piece.

I would need at least +450 to back Neal on the moneyline; I prefer his knockout odds (projected +722, listed +850 at FanDuel) pre-fight.

Alternatively, I would back Rakhmonov by submission (projected +150, listed +200 at FanDuel) or inside the distance (projected -178, listed -135 at DraftKings), which is my preferred play.

I project roughly a 6.5% edge between Rakhmonov's listed odds to finish at DraftKings (57.5% implied) and my projection (64%). It's a similar edge as in the "fight ends inside the distance" market, but I would have to pay substantially less juice.

Moreover, sometimes, you have to back your guys when you see an edge – and I think Rakhmonov (and Ilia Topuria, for that matter) are the guys – and I will keep backing them (at reasonable prices) until they stop brutalizing opponents.


  • Shavkat Rakhmonov wins Inside the Distance (-135, 0.5u at DraftKings)

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Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso

Women's Flyweight BoutOdds
Valentina Shevchenko Odds-750
Alexa Grasso Odds+550
Over/under rounds4.5 (+120 / -150)

Crowdsourced Projections: Valentina Shevchenko (84.4%)

For a further breakdown – and a different take on Saturday’s co-main event and flyweight title bout, check out the full fight preview from my colleague Dan Tom.

Shevchenko will search for her eighth consecutive title defense on Saturday. Still, many think she should have lost her last fight in June against Talia Santos after closing around -600 or higher across the market.

Assuming Shevchenko closes around -900 on Saturday, her average line over her past six title defenses will remain around -1500 (93.4% implied), proving her dominance relative to her peers.

While Shevchenko has apparent holes in her defensive grappling, few in her division have been able to exploit those weaknesses. And while other fighters on the rise (including Erin Blanchfield) might eventually be able to dethrone the flyweight champion, Alexa Grasso's style plays into Shevchenko's strengths.

Grasso is a slick boxer and an improving defensive grappler, but she does not have the offensive grappling chops to exploit Shevchenko's lone deficiency. Unlike her last fight, Shevchenko should have a significant grappling advantage in the matchup for the duration of the bout; however, Valentina doesn't always proactively pursue takedowns.

She prefers to strike off the back foot and counter opponents while staying out of range. Shevchenko (63%) and Grasso (61%) are excellent defensive strikers. But Valentina is far more accurate and efficient offensively (52% to 44%).

Given the defensive quality on both sides and the potential for a low-tempo matchup, I don't see a standing knockout from either fighter as particularly likely.

Due to her grappling advantage, Shevchenko via submission (or positional TKO) is the likeliest path to the finish. However, Grasso has potentially leveled up her grappling to the point where she can stay safe after takedowns and survive until she can start the next-round standing.

And if she can spend at least three rounds on the feet and lead the dance with her pressure – even if she's getting countered – Grasso has a chance to steal a decision or pull the upset. You don't need her to do more than that to justify a bet on her +500 pricetag.

I expect this fight to be a bit more competitive than the odds suggest, and my projections like the bout to reach a decision 49% of the time. On average, women's flyweight bouts go to a decision around 60% of the time.

As a result, you can bet the fight to go to a decision at a juicy number (+144 at FanDuel), but I prefer the Over 3.5 Rounds (+100 at FanDuel). I would also consider betting Shevchenko to win by Decision (projected +163, listed +200 at BetMGM) in the prop market.


  • Over 3.5 Rounds (+100, 0.5u at FanDuel)

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Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane

Heavyweight BoutOdds
Jon Jones Odds-175
Ciryl Gane Odds+150
Over/under rounds4.5 (-155 / +125)

Crowdsourced Projections: Jon Jones (55.5%)

Check out my full UFC 285 main event betting preview for additional analysis of Saturday’s title fight, including a statistical comparison.

In short, I projected Ciryl Gane as a 44.5% underdog (+125 implied) in this matchup, and I would bet his moneyline down to about +135 (42.6% implied), at roughly a 2% edge compared to my number.

I projected the bout to go to a decision 50% of the time (+100 implied), and I don’t see value concerning the total. While both heavyweights are durable, I would lean toward the under. UFC heavyweight bouts end inside the distance 75% of the time.

If you’re interested in betting on Jon Jones, I would play him by submission (projected +500, listed +600 at BetMGM). I doubt he wins a 25-minute striking matchup; to justify his favoritism, Jones needs to grapple – and if he does so successfully, he should get to positions that would justify his submission price.

Moreover, depending upon the book, I see slight value in Gane’s knockout prop (projected +462, listed +550 at BetRivers). While Jones has proven durability, the power discrepancy between the light heavyweight and actual heavyweight classes is often overlooked.

That said – as with the Gane vs. Ngannou fight – we will avoid heavyweight madness in the prop market and bet the underdog moneyline.


  • Ciryl Gane (+155, 0.5u at Caesars)

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Zerillo’s UFC 285 Bets

Distance or Decision Props and Overs

  • SGP (+105, 0.25u at DraftKings) Loik Radzhabov & Over 1.5 Rounds
  • Jessica Penne wins by Decision (+400, 0.1u at DraftKings)
  • SGP (+100, 0.25u): Cameron Saaiman & Over 1.5 Rounds
  • Marc-Andre Barriault Wins by Decision (+270, 0.1u at Caesars)
  • SGP: Barriault & Over 1.5 Rounds (-125, Risk 0.5u at DraftKings)
  • Shevchenko/Grasso, Over 3.5 Rounds (+100, 0.5u at FanDuel)

Double Chance Props

  • Mateusz Gamrot Wins by Decision or Submission (-105, 0.5u at FanDuel)

Inside the Distance Props and Unders

  • Dricus Du Plessis Wins Inside the Distance (-110, 0.5u at BetMGM)
  • Trevin Jones wins Inside the Distance (+300, 0.25u at BetMGM)
  • Trevin Jones Wins by KO/TKO (+325, 0.1u at BetMGM)
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov Wins Inside the Distance (-135, 0.5u at DraftKings)


  • Jessica Penne (+250, 0.4u at WynnBet)
  • Viviane Araujo (+104, 0.5u at Pointsbet)
  • Ciryl Gane (+155, 0.5u at Caesars)


  • Parlay (-110, 0.2u at WynnBet): Dricus Du Plessis (-235) & Nickal/Pickett, Under 1.5 Rounds (-295)
  • Parlay (+488, 0.1u at FanDuel): Nickal/Pickett, Under 1.5 Rounds (-320) & Shevchenko/Grasso Over 3.5 Rounds (+100) & Gane/Jones Under 4.5 Rounds (+124)

Live Betting Notes

  • Jessica Penne Live after Round 1
  • Cameron Saaiman Live after Round 1
  • Marc-Andre Barriault Live after Round 1
  • Dricus Du Plessis Live after Round 1
  • Mateusz Gamrot Live after Round 1

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