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UFC 285 predictions: Late ‘Prelims’ undercard preview | Jones vs. Gane

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing more “Prelims” fights to ESPN/ESPN+ this weekend (Sat., March 4, 2023) when UFC 285: “Jones vs. Gane” storms T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.’s Patrick Stumberg kicks off the UFC 285 “Prelims” party with the first installment of a two-part undercard preview series below.

Light Heavyweight G.O.A.T., Jon Jones, attempts to conquer a second weight class this Saturday (March 4, 2023) when he battles Ciryl Gane in the pay-per-view (PPV) main event of UFC 285, which will take place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The evening’s other title action sees Alexa Grasso challenge Valentina Shevchenko for the Flyweight belt, while Jalin Turner attempts to continue his Lightweight rise at Mateusz Gamrot’s expense and uber-prospect Bo Nickal debuts against Jamie Pickett.

UFC 285’s final four “Prelims” undercard bouts (check out the first batch here) set the stage on ESPN+/ESPN. Let’s take a closer look ...

LIVE! Watch UFC 286 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

135 lbs.: Cody Garbrandt vs. Trevin Jones

It’s now been more than six years since Cody Garbrandt (12-5) upset Dominick Cruz to claim UFC’s Bantamweight belt. He now sits at 1-5 in his last six bouts, four of those losses coming inside the distance.

UFC 285 ends a nearly 15-month layoff.

Trevin Jones (13-9) burst onto the scene with upset knockouts of Timur Valiev and Mario Bautista, though the former was ultimately overturned because of a failed drug test. His efforts earned him a Murderer’s Row of opponents, resulting in consecutive decision losses to Saidyokub Kakhramonov, Javid Basharat and Raoni Barcelos.

“5 Star” will enjoy more than four inches of reach on Garbrandt.

The saddest thing about Garbrandt’s current state is that he’s clearly trying to make adjustments, tightening up his striking and leaning more on his wrestling, but it’s just not working. While he’s not exactly losing to chumps, there’s the distinct impression that what made him so special is gone for good.

Jones is extremely durable — a functional grappler who possesses sneaky power. At this stage in Garbrandt’s career, that looks like enough to put away “No Love.” Indeed, in the end, Jones clips him inside the first.

Prediction: Jones via first round technical knockout

185 lbs.: Derek Brunson vs. Dricus Du Plessis

Derek Brunson’s (23-8) unexpected rise into contention appeared to have petered out after a 2-4 skid, only for him to rattle off another five consecutive victories. Then came Jared Cannonier, who came back to stop Brunson late in the second round and secure a title shot.

He has one inch of reach on Dricus Du Plessis (18-2), who is 10 years his junior.

“Stillknocks” — the former EFC and KSW champion — has now won six straight since falling to the lethal Roberto Soldic in their 2018 rematch. His four-fight UFC run most recently saw him choke out Darren Till to secure his second post-fight bonus.

All but one of his wins have come inside the distance, 10 of them by submission.

On the one hand, Du Plessis’ frantic, all-athleticism approach is exactly the sort of style that Brunson has feasted on during his current resurgence. On the other hand, Brunson looked more, well, Brunson than ever against Cannonier. The power and wrestling technique are clearly still there, but the speed’s just about gone and the bad striking habits are more prominent than ever.

I just feel like at this stage in Brunson’s career, he can’t stand up to the younger, faster Du Plessis in a swang-and-bang slugfest. It’s not like Du Plessis is a poor wrestler, either, so Brunson can’t offset the physical discrepancies by turning it into a grind. I’m picturing something a lot like Burnson’s loss to Cannonier, with Du Plessis just having more in the tank after a wild and competitive first round.

Prediction: Du Plessis via second round technical knockout

125 lbs.: Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas

Viviane Araujo (11-4) battled her way to a 5-2 UFC start highlighted by her one-punch knockout of Talita Bernardo and comeback decision over Andrea Lee. This led to a main event against Alexa Grasso, who out-lasted “Vivi” to a five-round decision win.

Her professional finishes are split 3/4 between knockouts and submissions.

Amanda Ribas (11-3) put a three-year USADA suspension behind her to win her first four UFC bouts, including a dominant decision over then-unbeaten Mackenzie Dern. She’s since dropped two of three, most recently losing a split decision to Katlyn Chookagian.

She gives up one inch of height and two inches of reach to Araujo.

The knock on Araujo has always been her cardio, which once let her down so badly that she lost to Jessica Eye. Though she fell short against an elite striker in Grasso, the fact that she went five good rounds suggests that she might actually be able to sustain her preferred pace now, which is bad news for Ribas. The latter has shown a distinct lack of durability and striking defense during her time in the Octagon, giving the fast, more powerful Araujo a clear path to victory.

It’s all moot if Ribas can take her down and use her impressive top game, of course, but Araujo’s historically stout takedown defense should allow her to strike without fear. In short, “Vivi’s” right hand finally claims another victim in the early going.

Prediction: Araujo via first round technical knockout

185 lbs.: Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

After stunning Phil Hawes on Contender Series to secure a UFC contract, Julian Marquez (9-3) racked up stoppage wins in three of his first four UFC bouts, all of which earned post-fight honors. A 14-month layoff followed, which ended in June 2022 when Gregory Rodrigues handed “The Cuban Missile Crisis” his first knockout defeat.

He’s scored nine finishes in nine professional victories, five of them via knockout.

Marc-Andre Barriault (14-6) went winless in four UFC bouts before pounding out Abu Azaitar and outlasting Dalcha Lungiambula in succession. His three-fight 2022 campaign featured a submission of Jordan Wright sandwiched between stoppage losses to Chidi Njokuani and Anthony Hernandez.

“Powerbar” will enjoy a two-inch reach advantage despite standing one inch shorter than Marquez.

Assuming Marquez’s bravado is still intact after “Robocop’s” bit of police brutality, we’re in for an absolute slugfest. It will be Marquez’s speed against Barriault’s physicality, and though “Powerbar” has had the rougher go of things in the Octagon, I’m leaning his way largely because of Marquez’s terrible defensive instincts. While I can’t blame him for struggling to get away from Rodrigues after the first two concussions, the man got tagged more than once by Sam Alvey of all people.

Though his opportunistic submission skills and penchant for last-minute heroics give Marquez a good shot, Barriault just seems like the more reliable of the two, especially if he can get the clinch going. In the end, he edges out a 15-minute striking battle.

Prediction: Barriault via split decision

If any UFC pay-per-view (PPV) is worth the new price of admission, it’s this one. See you Saturday, Maniacs.

Current Prediction Record for 2023: 29-11

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 285 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 285: “Jones vs. Gane” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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