UFC 285 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane: Can Gane Down Jones?

UFC 285 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane: Can Gane Down Jones? article feature image

Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: Jon Jones before his UFC 285 fight against Ciryl Gane, marking Jones’ UFC return and our expert’s final pick and prediction for UFC 285 odds on Saturday.

Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane Odds

Jones Odds
Gane Odds
4.5 (-145 / +115)
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
Approx. Midnight ET
ESPN+ Pay-per-view
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings Sportsbook.

UFC heavyweight gold is on the line on Saturday night in Las Vegas as the current No. 10-ranked pound-for-pound fighter and light heavyweight GOAT Jon Jones will face No. 1-ranked heavyweight Ciryl Gane for the vacant belt.

And that means it's time for our UFC 285 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane in Jones' UFC return.

Saturday's tilt (ESPN+ PPV, with fighter walkouts approximately at 11:55 p.m. ET) will mark the first MMA fight for Jones since February 2020, a three-year layoff. Some marks on his professional record include an overturned win for a banned substance and a disqualification for illegal strikes; however, Jones has never truly lost an MMA fight.

Gane is 9-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming to a current free agent – and the most recent heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou – at UFC 270 in January 2022.

Below, I'll provide my analysis and projections for the fight card headliner and utilize those factors to bet on the UFC 285 main event between Jones and Gane.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time15:2816:07
Weight (pounds)2xx lbs.245 lbs.
Reach (inches)84"81"
Date of birth7/19/19874/12/1990
Sig Strikes Per Min4.305.11
SS Accuracy57%59%
SS Absorbed Per Min2.222.25
SS Defense64%62%
Take Down Avg1.850.62
TD Acc44%21%
TD Def95%55%
Submission Avg0.40.5

Jones is moving up to heavyweight for the first time in his career, and though he'll possess a three-inch reach advantage against Gane, he'll face rare size parity at striking range as Gane relies on his long legs and kicks to control distance.

While Jones may not be as fast or explosive after adding 40 pounds to his frame, I expect him to retain elite cardio and durability.

Gane doesn't push a breakneck pace – or hit particularly hard for a heavyweight, and Jones should be relaxed in a mid-tempo kickboxing match.

He may have trouble securing minutes against Gane in the striking, however. I view the Frenchman as the better technical striker, with the likely power advantage, and I suspect he may have the speed advantage as well – which you would typically assume for the fighter coming up from the lighter weight class.

Jones may need to grapple – and do so successfully – to win this fight; however, he didn't have as much success landing takedowns during the latter part of his light heavyweight run (44% takedown accuracy career; 26% in his past four fights) and seemed less enthusiastic about grappling in general.

Gane showed significant holes in his takedown defense against Ngannou, permitting four of five attempts and spending nearly a third of the 25-minute championship bout in Ngannou's control.

Jones has a far better wrestling pedigree and top game than Ngannou. However, he doesn't have the same raw strength as the most powerful man ever to enter the UFC octagon. And I doubt that he can ragdoll these heavyweights in a similar manner as Curtis Blaydes, for instance. Jones is long and lean, and he just doesn't have a proper heavyweight frame.

That's not to say that Jones can't – or won't – dominate the grappling. I'm just pointing out the difference in raw physicality between Ngannou and Jones – let alone the difference in preparation leading into these respective fights (training for a Jones wrestling onslaught) and the in-the-moment shock of Ngannou putting on his wrestling singlet.

Jones may finish this fight with one takedown. He has a vicious top game; we're just not entirely sure how his wrestling will translate to heavyweight.

I either expect Jones to shoot from the opening bell – or feel Gane out on the feet for an extended period – before eventually grappling near the end of the first (to secure the round) or the start of the second round (if he loses the opening frame standing).

Gane will look to use his teep kicks to keep the distance and to prevent Jones from ducking his head and shooting in open space. And he'll use his footwork to stay in the center of the cage – and avoid getting pressed against the fence, where Jones can wrestle him without taking as much risk.

And if he does get taken down, Gane should use the fence to scramble back to his feet immediately; otherwise, Jones will inevitably cut him up from the top position with vicious elbows.

If Jones were reliable to grapple, going in, you might be able to justify his favoritism. However, all of the questions lie in the corner of one of the UFC's all-time greats, given the lengthy layoff, how he looked in his fights before the layoff, his past PED use, and the weight move.

If Jones is forced to wrestle a heavyweight repeatedly and struggles at all, his gas tank may dissipate faster than it would have previously.

And while he can compete on the feet with Gane, I expect the Frenchman to get the better of the exchanges, mainly as the fight goes longer. He has more snap on his strikes and variety in his shot selection.

Jones vs. Gane Pick

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.

The Pick: Ciryl Gane (+155 at DraftKings or Caesars)

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