UFC 285 Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Jon Jones’ Return vs Ciryl Gane, More (Saturday, March 4)

UFC 285 Odds, Picks, Projections: Best Bets for Jon Jones’ Return vs Ciryl Gane, More (Saturday, March 4) article feature image

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images. Pictured: UFC 285, where our experts’ best bets feature Jon Jones’ return vs Ciryl Gane.

It's finally here: Jon Jones makes his UFC return at UFC 285, as Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane leads our UFC 285 Best Bets and expert picks.

Below, you can check out our UFC 285 best bets for Saturday's pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, as we've already seen an action-packed card, including a stunning debut by Bo Nickal.

Shortly, former longtime light heavyweight champion Jon Jones fights Ciryl Gane for the vacant heavyweight title in the UFC 285 main event.

So where should you be looking to place your UFC 285 bets? Our crew has pinpointed four fights on Saturday’s stacked UFC 285 card that present betting value, as our experts make their picks and best bets for Jon Jones' UFC return at UFC 285 and much more.

You can find their analysis and picks on those matches plus Sean Zerillo's projections below using odds from BetMGM.

Moneyline Projections

Prop Projections

Tony Sartori: Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas

Contributor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 8:25 p.m. ET

On the UFC 285 preliminary card, we have flyweights Viviane Araujo and Amanda Ribas. The No. 9 contender in the UFC strawweight division, Ribas is moving up a weight class to take on the No. 8 contender.

Ribas typically straddles both divisions and was even ranked 15th among the flyweights to close out 2022, so the move up is not a concern. A true MMA practitioner, Ribas can win via any method.

She is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and in judo, spending most of her developmental years in MMA working with grappling and wrestling in Brazil. However, her striking game is also excellent, with three of her seven professional finishes coming via knockout while the other four are submissions.

Starting off her UFC journey in incredible fashion, she racked up four straight wins before losing two of her last three fights. With that said, those two losses came against Marina Rodriguez (No. 5 strawweight contender) and Katlyn Chookagian (No. 5 flyweight).

On the other side, Araujo also enters this bout after dropping two of her last three fights. Like Ribas, those losses came against legit contenders in Chookagian and Alexa Grasso, the latter of whom is fighting Valentina Shevchenko for the flyweight belt in the co-main event on Saturday.

Also hailing from Brazil, Araujo is a black belt in BJJ and can also serve as a threat on the feet. Stylistically, a great scrap should be in store given how each of these contenders is comfortable both on the mat and on the feet.

Ultimately, I think this fight ends up on the mat, and I think Ribas has the edge there. Her grappling looked incredible against Chookagian, with some media scores even giving Ribas the win.

Meanwhile, when you look at the grappling Araujo demonstrated in her unanimous decision loss against Chookagian, it is not as clean, though the decision could have gone her way as well. Even when the fight stays on the feet, Ribas' striking defense should pose problems for Araujo.

With more avenues to victory, I will take Ribas as a short betting favorite.

Pick: Amanda Ribas (-120)

Sean Zerillo: Derek Brunson vs. Dricus du Plessis

Senior Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 9:25 p.m. ET

Drikus 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).

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.

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.

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.

The Pick: Dricus du Plessis Wins Inside the Distance (-110, 0.5u at MGM)

Dann Stupp: Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner

Senior Editor at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 10:25 p.m. ET

As UFC 285 totals began to open this week, I was surprised that many sportsbooks went with 2.5 rounds instead of 1.5 rounds for the main-card bout of lightweights Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner. I think this one ends early pretty often.

Trying to envision exactly how this fight plays out is a bit difficult, though, simply because of the varied factors involved. Those subplots include Gamrot taking the fight on short notice, as well as Turner's immense height/unique stature for the division, as my colleague Billy Ward detailed earlier this week.

Ultimately, whether this fight hits the canvas or stays standing, I think a finish is likely to follow. And barring T-Mobile Arena suddenly experiencing zero gravity on Saturday night, this fight is going to be one or the other – striking or grappling – most of the time.

Standing? That's obviously Turner's world, where he throws enough volume – and enough power – to always be a knockout threat. He can swarm and overwhelm opponents before they've had time to even catch their breath.

But if Turner's cardio again wanes – or if he simply can't overcome Gamrot's relentless takedowns that come one after another, usually chained together – he's going to be in trouble. Turner isn't above latching on to an opportunistic submission opening, but he's also way too willing to give his opponents those openings to exploit themselves. And when Turner starts to tire, all types of stoppages are suddenly in play for his opponents.

Short notice, varied statures, non-complementary skills, cardio concerns and questionable decision-making at times? Those are all the ingredients you want to see for an inside the distance (ITD) prop bet.

Count on Gamrot and Turner leaving the judges out of this one. Shop around, though, because the odds vary wildly for this bet. I'm comfortable taking it down to -210.

The Pick: Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner does not go the distance (-175 at Bet365) | Bet to -210

Billy Ward: Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane

Staff Writer at The Action Network

Fighter walkouts: Approx. 11:55 p.m. ET

We don’t often see heavyweight fights with an over/under set at 4.5 rounds. For good reason – the big boys finish about 75% of their fights on average.

That figure is predominantly based on three-round fights, as well, so the number for main events/championship bouts is likely much higher.

That 75% rate works out to a line of -300, way better than the current lines in the market for UFC 285's Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane headliner. This isn’t just any heavyweight fight either. Gane is a former kickboxing champion, with knockout power and underrated submissions. Jon Jones is Jon Jones.

The arguable MMA GOAT can cement that status with a win Saturday as he makes his heavyweight debut. He’s far and away the better grappler than Gane, but he's a dangerous striker in his own right. Perhaps most important to this bet is how his cardio holds up with the extra 20 or so pounds he’ll carry come fight night.

While Jones has generally had solid cardio, a world championship fight with the extra mass he’s carrying will put a strain on his endurance. Jones has one of the best fight IQs ever though, so he’s likely well aware of that fact. Jones will look to put Gane away before that factors in – and probably gets stopped himself if he’s unable to do so.

Between the binary nature of this fight – Gane has a striking edge, with Jones better grappling – and the usual numbers we see from heavyweights, this one has a ton of edge. At the current prices, I prefer the under 4.5 to the ends inside the distance line, but if the latter moves back to plus-money, I’d take that instead. A late-round round stoppage is pretty unlikely, but still possible.

Pick: Jon Jones-Ciryl Gane Under 4.5 Rounds (+124)

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