Sanabul Fight News: UFC 285
UFC 285 could be one of the most anticipated cards of the last three years, as the greatest MMA fighter of all time made his return at a new weight class, against a massive challenge in Ciryl Gane. Not only was Jones and Gane heading the card, but Saturday night was stacked top to bottom with the best fighters in the world, and each fight had an interesting storyline to at least one of the fighters.
Loik Radzhabov and Esteban Ribovics engaged in a great back-and-forth fight in the lightweight division. Radzhabov came out strong, dropping Ribovics in the first round and turned to his wrestling in the second round. Ribovics came back in the third, but Radzhabov still won with his clinching, scrambling, and wrestling techniques. Farid Basharat won his UFC debut by unanimous decision against Da’Mon Blackshear. Basharat showed his fluid striking and timely wrestling, dominating the fight, and even withstanding Blackshear’s late triangle choke attempt with less than 10 seconds left in the fight.
Tabatha Ricci submitted former title challenger Jessica Penne in the second round with an armbar, earning her third consecutive victory. Ricci now rides a 2-0 win streak in the UFC, and looks to keep moving up the rankings in the strawweight division. Cameron Saaiman won via majority decision against Mana Martinez, despite losing a point due to inadvertent kicks below the belt, and a tough, competitive fight for all three rounds.
Ian Machado Garry remained undefeated with a knockout win over Song Kenan, taking control of the fight in the second and third rounds, and cementing himself as a true contender in the welterweight division. I assume we will see a Top 15 test next, as Ian really showed off his skillset and his drive, after getting dropped early on by Song, and rallying for a finish. Marc-Andre Barriault defeated Julian Marquez with a stoppage victory late in the second round, dominating with a barrage of strikes along the fence.
Dricus Du Plessis defeated Derek Brunson in a huge matchup in the middleweight division, with Du Plessis weathering Brunson's early storm to land some significant shots and dominate the fight in the second round, ultimately forcing Brunson's corner to throw in the towel. Du Plessis showed lots of heart and power, but both fighters looked quite sloppy during this fight, with emotions seemingly flaring high due to the big test for both men. Cody Garbrandt defeated Trevin Jones in a measured win, with Garbrandt being the quicker and more active fighter and doing enough in the first two rounds to secure the decision win.
After two dominant performances on Dana White’s Contender series, it was finally time to see if the wrestling master Bo Nickal had what it takes to take the big step to the UFC. Bo defeated Jamie Pickett with an arm-triangle choke in the first round, a dominant performance, showcasing his wrestling and grappling pedigree against a real test in the UFC.
Moving up the main card, Mateusz Gamrot defeated Jalin Turner in a close split decision victory in a battle between two Top 10 lightweights, with Gamrot having success on the ground and Turner getting the better of things in the standing exchanges. Gamrot showed some real dominance in the grappling department, even after taking the fight on short notice. I think this fight put both men on notice, and could have gone either way. Shavkat Rakhmonov defeated Geoff Neal in a tough, competitive fight, ultimately securing a rear-naked choke finish in the third round to extend his undefeated record to 17-0. This fight was a battle from beginning to end, with Geoff Neal showcasing extreme durability and boxing prowess, but Shavkat just being too dominant at this point in his career to be beaten.
Finally, the biggest upset of the night occurred. Alexa Grasso became the new UFC flyweight champion by defeating Valentina Shevchenko via a fourth-round rear-naked choke finish in an ultra-competitive fight. I was one of the many people that did not see this coming, it’s hard to predict when someone who looks unstoppable will finally be overcome by a new challenger, and Saturday night was Alexa Grasso’s time to defeat the champion and achieve her goals. The flyweight division has a new face at the top, and Mexico has a new champion in the UFC!
The moment we have all been waiting for, ever since Jon Jones announced he would be moving up to heavyweight, was finally here. With so much speculation surrounding the fight; whether Jones would be big enough for the division, whether he still had what it takes after seemingly losing to Dominick Reyes, whether Gane had the grappling to keep up with one of the best wrestlers the UFC has seen… we finally had the chance to have all of those questions answered on Saturday night. Jon Jones reclaimed his spot at the top of the throne after completely dominating Ciryl Gane in the first round to one of the easiest Guillotine’s I have seen since… well since Jon Jones submitted Lyoto Machida with a standing guillotine. The GOAT is back, and the heavyweight division is shaking in its boots.