Given his history with Jon Jones it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Israel Adesanya is picking Ciryl Gane to knock off “Bones” later tonight (Sat., Mar. 4, 2023) at UFC 285 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As Jones makes his first Octagon appearance in over three years fight fans are wondering what version of the former UFC light heavyweight champion they will see. Even before Jones left the 205-pound division behind to bulk up to heavyweight he wasn’t exactly killing the competition. Close decision wins over Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos suggested that maybe Jones was losing just a sliver of his dominance.
Luckily, Jones will return to action this weekend and answer all the questions he can. Standing in his way is Gane, who is a former UFC heavyweight title challenger and undoubtedly one of the most polished strikers the heavyweight division has ever seen. While most would have liked to see Jones meet Francis Ngannou or Stipe Miocic in his return fight a matchup with Gane at UFC 285 should provide “Bones” with a stiff enough test.
In fact, Adesanya believes that Gane is one of the heavyweights that will give Jones a serious problem. “Last Stylebender” calls out Gane’s recent activity as one of the major reasons why he’ll win on Saturday.
“If you want to wake up for a guy in the morning, this is the guy,” said Adesanya via his YouTube channel. “Ciryl Gane, ‘Bon Gamin,’ he’s game. This is a guy to wake up for. I think cause of activity, to be honest, and who he is, I’m gonna go Ciryl, but I won’t be surprised if ‘Bones’ wins.”
Much is being made out of Gane’s apparent lack of takedown defense after he was taken down multiple times by Ngannou, but Adesanya believes “Bon Gamin” will be better prepared for Jones because he knows what’s coming.
“I can’t front, this is that fight,” Adesanya said. “Jones out for three years, Gane’s been active he’s a ‘new’ breed of heavyweight. He’s light on his feet, very, very mixed striking, good grappling. People forget just cause Francis took him down, but I think that’s the element of surprise as well. Francis is strong as f—k and knows how to wrestle, so when Gane wasn’t expecting it, he thought he was gonna have to bang with Francis cause that’s what Francis is known for.
“Gane can grapple, man. The way he fights as a heavyweight, he’s so light. He does the oblique kick well, great footwork, good submissions so far. Real random ones, like a heel hook. Good leg kicks as well.”
While Adesanya has had a lasting beef with Jones dating back a few years he believes the former UFC champion is a rarity in the sport. “Last Stylebender” even paid some respect to Jones ahead of his long-awaited comeback fight.
“Jones’ wrestling, that’s his superpower, isn’t it?” Adesanya said. “And range control. The thing is three years, bro. Three years away from the game is a hard ask for any man just to be away from fighting for that long. There’s a few — special few — that can actually f—k off and come back and still look great, and I feel like Jon’s one of them.
“But again, when you talk about special few fighters, trust me, Ciryl’s one of those guys as well.”
Remember that MMAmania.com 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.
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