It’s the countdown to the return of one of the greatest fighters of all time at UFC 285.
On Saturday, March 4th, 2023, Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane will take place and see a return to the octagon for Jones to attempt to claim the Heavyweight Championship belt for the first time.
This is the first time that Jones will compete in the Heavyweight weight class after being dominant for several years at Light Heavyweight. Not to mention being the youngest champion ever in the history of the UFC.
Jones has always had a dominating physique over several opponents in his last division. We’ve seen him towering above Daniel Cormier inside the cage and always using his height, reach, and MMA talents to his advantage.
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Jon Jones greatest test yet at Heavyweight
A ton of people have questioned the validity of Jones’ step up to Heavyweight, especially considering what some say about his small calves.
He’s top-heavy, and in preparations for this fight, he seems to have only increased that appearance.
The greatest to ever do it
Fans and pundits worldwide have often claimed Jon Jones as the Greatest Of All Time. His history and record are often compared to that of Khabib’s GOAT status.
Whatever your opinion is on the GOAT argument, it’s evident that “Bones” Jones has faced some of the most challenging opponents (and at a very young age, might I add) in his rise, winning his LHW belt and defending it multiple times.
But as Jon moves up a weight class to fight in Heavyweight, he’ll surely have to adjust significantly to the added weight and difficulty opponents pose.
Jones always had a grappling advantage over many in Light Heavyweight, being something of an expert in that department.
But at Heavyweight, there is true danger in one-punch KO power from many Heavyweighters’ as well as unique grappling significance. A lot of Heavyweight fights end up in a wrestling match.
He met his match in Gane
While we’re all too familiar with Jones’ skillset and history in MMA, Ciryl Gane is by no means a pushover.
Gane completely decimated his first seven opponents in the UFC, appearing unstoppable for any kind of fighter he went against.
Whenever he was taking on a grappler or a dirty boxer, he kept his distance and destroyed them with leg kicks until their face opened up for easy strikes.
And when against a knockout artist or striker at Heavyweight, he would outperform them on the feet with footwork and fast hands and win via TKOs.
It wasn’t until Gane faced the now ex-UFC fighter in Francis Ngannou that he came unstuck for the first time. Francis played to his own strengths against Gane by forcing him to close distance and bringing Gane down to the mat to win by superior grappling with ground and pound.
When Gane returned to the octagon against Tai Tuivasa, he restored all faith in his ability to deal with extreme knockout punchers. He was even clipped by Tai and fell to the mat, but he recovered and eventually out-strike the shoey drinker and win via KO.
How Jones Vs Gane might play out
What I am most hoping to see between Jones and Gane is a display in clinical striking prowess. I hope that it’s going to go the full five rounds and end up at the decision.
Both fighters have an uncanny ability to see their opponents patterns, use footwork to move around them, and strike back with lethal countering.
The clear difference between both, though, is in the grappling. Jones has shown that he’s something of a full package in the cage. He can strike, kick, move, grapple, and pound as good as any other best performer.
But Gane has already been quite easily wrestled by Ngannou, and this is where Jones could easily shine once again.
I don’t want to see Jones take this option – but I think it is likely if at any time he feels the rounds slipping away from him.
The final prediction of Jon Jones Vs Ciryl Gane
I am expecting to see Jon Jones win via a decision victory.
I predict that in the first two rounds, we’ll see both fighters slowly chip away at each other on the feet by showing off what they can do in striking, particularly with the legs from Gane.
In the third round, Jones will introduce his grappling by tripping up Gane in unexpected and unpredictable ways whenever he gets close. He’ll try to burn out Ciryl’s gas tank by using his new-found heavier weight to force the grappling.
In the fourth and the fifth, I think both fighters will be biting down hard on their mouthguards as Gane is looking to catch Jones’ chin from an off-angle while Jon is trying to seal his next takedown.
The control time that “Bones” will likely tally up over the course of the last three rounds will seal the deal and his shiny new Heavyweight championship belt.