The wait is over, fight day has arrived!
UFC 285 is one of the most stacked cards in recent memory. Two title fights, a former champion working his way back up, and anticipated debuts — this card covers all bases of excitement. Tag along here to stay up to date as the final few fights unfold. We'll keep you in the know of who's winning, how they're winning, and my often sought-after personal opinion of how the rounds are being scored.
Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane
The long-awaited return of Jon Jones is here! Now looking to add the UFC's heavyweight title to his résumé, Jones will take on Ciryl Gane for the vacant title. Gane already tried his hand at grabbing this strap, but he ultimately fell short against Francis Ngannou. Following this, Ngannoou has left the UFC and Gane jumped back into the win column with a career-best performance against Tai Tuivasa. Let's see how this one plays out.
Round 1: The fight starts and Jones immediately eats a kick where it hurts most. Bullseye. Gane whiffs and Jones sneaks around to the back. A takedown follows. Jones chain wrestles well and is constantly threatening with chokes. A guillotine choke against the cage is locked in and Gane taps early into the first! Jon Jones is now the heavyweight champion of the world.
Official result: Jon Jones via first round submission
Valentina Shevchenko vs Alexa Grasso
Valentina Shevchenko is entering this fight coming off of her first split decision win since her UFC debut. Though her last fight was close, this nine-fight win streak she's on right now is nothing short of dominant. As ‘Bullet' continues to try and reach that female pound-for-pound number one spot, she'll look to take out Alexa Grasso. Grasso, still on the better side of thirty-years-old, has string together four wins in a row in order to get this title shot. She'll look to put her boxing chops to the test against the champion and shock the world by stealing the belt.
Round 1: Shevchenko starts out showing her speed, but it's primarily both fighters reading each other. Grasso, when standing southpaw, is having so much success with the left hand. She's able to secure a takedown at the end of the round, too! I'm thinking that the challenger walked away with round one.
Round 2: The champ secures a takedown early and is working from the top position. Shevchenko is able to advance position and threaten with a mounted crucifix, but Grasso is well prepared and creates a scramble to get back to her feet. Grasso is starting to feel herself but she's brought back down to the mat. This southpaw stance of the challenger is giving Valentina some problems and it's obvious, but the takedowns won the round for ‘Bullet”.
Round 3: Alexa Grasso continues to make the champion uncomfortable with her boxing from the southpaw stance. That left cross has the champ in some hot water, so she goes back to where she knows she can win and locks in another takedown. Shevchenko is keeping busy, but not busy enough, so Jason Herzog stands them up. The champ takes Grasso down again and takes her back for a moment. The round ends with the challenger attempting a half-hearted guillotine choke.
Round 4: Grasso continues to keep the champ guessing on the feet and even shoots in a takedown of her own. Shevchenko is pressed against the fence but breaks with a knee. The champ is popping her jab and it's doing well for her. Shevchenko throws a spin kick but gets her back taken for her troubles. Grasso locks in a rear-naked choke but it seems to be on the chin. Regardless, Grasso squeezes and it's too much for Valentina. And new!
Official result: Alexa Grasso via fourth round submission
Geoff Neal vs Shavkat Rakhmonov
Really, thre match-making here is a thing of beauty. Rakhmonov, 16-0 with 16 finishes, has taken the UFC by storm. Many consider him to be the hardcore MMA fan's Khamzat Chimaev, which is a very flattering thing to be considered. As the 28-year-old looks to further boost his stock, he'll take on one of the best boxers in the division, Geoff Neal. Neal has fast hands and a left high kick that'll shut anyone's lights off. Neal's last fight, he was able to become the first man to stop Vicente Luque with strikes. That's quite a feat. Despite Neal tipping the scale four pounds heavy, this bout is thankfully still on.
Round 1: There was a lot of momentum switches in this round. In the early goings, things were primarily fought in the clinch. Neal begins banging out that left hand and it's finding the mark, but a head kick by Rakhmonov finds the mark. Rakhmonov tees off more and steals the round.
Round 2: This was a very close round. Both Rakhmonov and Neal had their moments. Neal may have landed the better strikes, but Rakhmonov lseemed to land a bit more. Additionally, he put the pressure on. It seems that Neal needs a finish going into the next round.
Round 3: Neal starts the round off by landing the most impactful combination of the round and hurting Shavkot Rakhmonov. The 16-0 fighter forces a clinch to clear the cob webs. The two break and Rakhmonov clips Neal. This is an absolute war at this point! Another clinch on the fence and Rakhmonov is able to get behind Neal. With just a minute left, we're all thinking about this fight going to decision, but Rakhmonov sinks in a standing rear-naked choke and forces the tap. What a finish!
Official result: Shavkot Rakhmonov via third round submission