UFC 285 is set for this coming Saturday, March 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card is absolutely stacked, full of flashy debuts and highly-anticipated returns to the octagon.
The card begins with Bo Nickal making his UFC debut against veteran Jamie Pickett in a middleweight bout. That’s followed by Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jalin Turner in a lightweight bout. Then, Geoff Neal takes on Shavkat Rakhmonov in a welterweight bout.
Headlining the card are two title fights. As the co-main, Valentina Shevchenko will look to defend her women’s flyweight championship against Alexa Grasso. Finally, the main event sees Jon Jones making his long-awaited return to the octagon, this time as a heavyweight squaring off against Ciryl Gane for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Betting is sure to be a hot topic, as is always the case with star-studded UFC events. Here’s a quick guide on the numbers for some of the fights.
Bo Nickal’s Debut
The former Penn State wrestler, making his UFC debut, is looking to come out and shock the crowd. Though his opponent, Pickett, is a UFC veteran, the odds on DraftKings currently have Nickal favored at -1500. Those are steep odds, but it makes sense considering the hype around Nickal.
With wrestling and submission grappling being his best skills, Nickal is favored to win by submission. The odds have that outcome at -120. However, I think we may be primed for a letdown. Though Nickal has serious hopes to become a superstar, Pickett is a more-than-capable fighter, and I wouldn’t underestimate his resolve against the heavily-favored newcomer.
I think a profitable bet would be to take Nickal to win by decision, which currently stands at +800 odds. This would pay far more than taking Nickal by submission, and I think there’s a solid chance this will happen. Nickal will win, but Pickett will fight to the end.
Valentina Shevchenko Retains the Belt
A safe bet for the co-main fight between Shevchenko and Grasso for the flyweight belt would be to take Shevchenko by knockout. The odds have that outcome at +175, the most favored possible outcome of the fight. Due to Shevchenko’s power and striking prowess, this is likely.
However, knockouts don’t happen much in women’s UFC fights. Therefore, it may be better to go with the more profitable bet of Shevchenko by submission, which is currently at +225. It’s a likely outcome given Shevchenko’s grappling ability, but also more profitable than other safe bets.
The Main Event
And here we are at the main event of UFC 285, by far the most intriguing fight: Jon Jones vs. Cyril Gane for the heavyweight championship. Vegas currently has Jon favored at -165 moneyline, +165 to win by decision, +350 to win by knockout, and +750 to win by submission.
Taking Jones to win is obviously the safe bet, but by which outcome is tricky. Jones is fearsome in both his striking and grappling capabilities, but I would take Jones by submission. The potential profits are high while also being a fully possible outcome. It’s a risky bet, but the payout is high.
For more content on bets, read here.