UFC 285 Preview

UFC 285 is less than a week away and is shaping up to be one of is not the biggest cards of the year. With multiple up-and-coming fighters, returning veterans, and a gigantic main event, this is a card you won’t want to miss. So let’s look at some of the fighters and fights to look out for on this weekend’s card.

Farid Basharat and Damon Blackshear are the second fight of the night, but fans should look out for Farid in this fight. Farid is 9-0 and had an impressive debut on Dana Whites’s Contender Series performance, which earned him a UFC contract, leading him to this fight. Farid is not the only fighter in the family who is successful, as his brother Javid is 14-0, and last fought in January where he won against Mateus Mendonca, who was also undefeated before he lost to Javid. Farid should be getting a layup fight in this spot where he will be able to show his skills and pick up a relatively easy win.

10-0 undefeated prospect out of Ireland Ian Garry faces Kenan Song this weekend, in his fourth UFC fight. Garry opened his career with a knockout victory over Jordan Williams and proclaimed he was the next great Irish UFC fighter, following in the footsteps of the notorious Conor McGregor. In his second fight, it was a solid win against Darian Week although many fans expected a finish that slowed down the hype for Garry a bit. But in his last fight against Gabriel Green, he ramped up the hype again with a crisp performance in which he knocked down Green and got an easy unanimous decision where he won all three rounds. Look for Garry to look for the knockout this weekend, as Kenan Song has had a long layoff and has shown durability issues against fighters with good power. 

In a very important matchup for the Middleweight division, we see Dricus Du Plessis take on veteran Derek Brunson. This fight sees both fighters having an obvious path to victory, Brunson will look to wrestle and grind out Du Plessis, while Dricus will look to impose his will on the feet, and batter Brunson with his much better striking. Brunson last fought Jared Cannonier where he lost by brutal ground and-pound knockout. Brunson is 39 and a knockout like that could be detrimental to him and his ability to take a shot, especially against Du Plessis who has shown knockout power throughout his whole career. Dricus is undefeated in the UFC and looking to throw himself in the title picture with a win on Saturday, especially riding the momentum of his submission win over household name Darren Till at UFC 282 in December.

Cody Garbrandt returns to the bantamweight division after a failed attempt to move down to flyweight, where he was knocked out by title contender Kai Kara-France. It’s been almost nothing but downhill for Cody since he lost the belt in 2018 to arch-rival T.J. Dillashaw. Cody is 1-5 in his last six, with his lone win being a spectacular knockout of Raphael Assuncao. Cody is taking a massive step down in competition in this fight, as he faces 13-9 Trevin Jones who will look to possibly end his career of Cody with a win. This quite frankly is a must-win for Cody, if he loses retirement or even the possibility of being cut from the UFC is very much in the air. But with a win, he could snag some much-needed momentum, and maybe catch a second wind in his UFC career.

One of the most hyped prospects in the history of MMA makes his official UFC debut, in 3-Time NCAA wrestling national champion from Penn State, Bo Nickal. Nickal has had three fights in MMA, his first came outside the UFC where he brutally knocked out his opponent John Noland in 33 seconds. Then he fought on Dana Whites’s Contender Series where he would get an opportunity to earn a UFC contract. In his first fight, he went against Zachary Borrego and he submitted him in just over a minute. Dana White wanted another fight out of him, presumably to create a bit more buzz for him seeing his star potential, and boy did it work. Nickal would face Donovan Beard, where he would knock him down in under a minute and pull off a beautiful triangle choke in 52 seconds. Nickal is facing 13-8 Jamie Pickett and should have little to no issue getting a quick finish in his official debut under the world’s biggest MMA promotion. 

A quick overview of two other fights fans should look out for is Mateusz Gamrot Vs. Jalin Turner which is a classic wrestler vs striker matchup. With Gamrot coming in on very short notice cardio, could be an issue for Gamrot. While questions also arise for Turner because he takes on a very tough stylistic matchup for himself, as he has had problems defending takedowns in the past, and Gamrot will be looking for them relentlessly from the opening bell. Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Geoff Neal is another stellar matchup where we see one of the most hyped prospects in the whole promotion in Shavkat. He is 16-0 with all wins by finish and has had zero issues in the UFC with any of his opponents, thoroughly dominating them in both striking and wrestling with some brutal knockouts and slick submissions. Neal will look to shock the world and derail the hype train while Shavkat with a win is immediately in the title discussion at welterweight. 

Now the moment we have all waited for since his departure from the sport in 2020, the return of the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Jon “Bones” Jones. Jones takes on Ciryl Gane in what many believe to be his toughest matchup to date. Jones reigned havoc on the light heavyweight division for years, but after two very close fights to close out his run, he moves up to heavyweight to take on a new challenge. Gane’s only loss thus far in his career came in his title challenge against former champ Francis Ngannou in a close fight where he lost by unanimous decision. Gane is an amazing kickboxer and has movement unlike anything we have seen at heavyweight, his size and striking could present problems for Jones on the feet. But the main question that lies is, can Jones take Gane down? With Jones being 35 and coming off a three-year layoff, many think he might be slower and not able to get Gane down like he used to. But only time will tell if Jones will further cement his legacy as an all-time great, or if Gane can end Jones near decade-long run and reach the pinnacle of the sport.

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