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UFC 285 Main Card Picks on DraftKings Sportsbook

Tim Finnegan breaks down the UFC 285 main event on DraftKings Sportsbook.

UFC 285 is taking place on Saturday from Las Vegas, and the event is headlined by the highly anticipated return of UFC legend Jon Jones. Jones has not fought in three years as he makes his transition to the heavyweight division. Jones will face Ciryl Gane for the UFC heavyweight title. In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko will defend the women’s flyweight title against Alexa Grasso. The card also features the debut of elite prospect Bo Nickal, who destroyed his competition on Dana White’s Contender Series to earn a UFC contract.

During the last UFC PPV at UFC 284, a DraftKings Sportsbook bettor made a big profit with the help of Jack Della Maddalena. The bettor won $410 by placing this $10 Same Game Parlay (SGP) on DraftKings Sportsbook:

  • Jack Della Maddalena Moneyline
  • Most Significant Strikes: Jack Della Maddalena
  • Most Knockdowns: Jack Della Maddalena
  • Total Minutes: Under 14.5

Della Maddalena landed 14 significant strikes with one knockdown, compared to 11 significant strikes and no knockdowns for his opponent, Randy Brown, and the knockdown led to a fight-finishing win for Della Maddalena in just over two minutes. As a result of all of these outcomes hitting, the bettor successfully cashed their Same Game Parlay bet and took home a profit of $400.

DraftKings is hosting a big fantasy UFC 285 tournament that pays out $700,000 in total prizes, including $150,000 to first place. Enter the contest for only $25 here.

Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane

Jon Jones is making his debut at heavyweight and has not fought in three years, so there is some uncertainty as to how he will look given the long layoff and new division. At Jones’ peak, he was a matchup nightmare because he was elite at both fighting at range and fighting inside. Jones’ long limbs and lengthy kicks allowed him to pepper away at an opponent’s base from a safe distance, and his elite clinch game made closing the distance on him and fighting inside a bad idea. Jones’ elite wrestling also kept him off his back and allowed him to dictate where the fight took place.

However, Jones was not nearly as dominant at the end of his light heavyweight title run as he was in the beginning, and the last time we saw Jones, he narrowly edged out a decision win over Dominick Reyes in a close fight that some felt Reyes won. Jones’ length advantage will also be less evident at heavyweight, where opponents generally have bigger and longer frames. Ciryl Gane’s 81-inch reach is the longest reach of any opponent Jones has faced in his UFC career.

Jones and Gane are similar in that they both are excellent at managing distance and throwing long, rangy strikes. Gane uses his length well offensively, particularly through his kicks. Gane’s kicking game is a safe way to attack offensively because he is generally able to land strikes outside of his opponent’s punching range. Gane’s striking game is very well-rounded, featuring an assortment of kicks, knees, elbows and punches that land to the legs, body and head. Gane’s kickboxing skill and athleticism really stand out at heavyweight, a division that can often feature less-technical brawls between fighters who aren’t as skilled or athletic as fighters in the lighter weight classes.

Gane has landed more than twice the significant strikes he has absorbed, landing over five significant strikes per minute while absorbing about two significant strikes per minute. Gane’s ability to evade significant strikes is also supported by his rate stats, as he has avoided a strong 62% of opponent significant strike attempts. Jones’ striking metrics are very similar: Jones has avoided an excellent 64% of opponent significant strike attempts and has landed about twice as many strikes as he has absorbed.

There are a few ways to attack Gane based on his style that could be effective. The first is pressure on the feet, which would keep Gane retreating on his back foot and make it difficult for him to use his excellent kicking game. The second is timely wrestling, which would help reduce the effectiveness of his kickboxing and leg kicks, because throwing kicks leaves a fighter more susceptible to takedowns due to being off-balanced combined with extending the leg. On the flip side, the best way to close the distance on Jones and avoid his oblique kicks is to switch stances while coming in, which gets Jones off-balanced if he kicks at a lead leg that is now the trail leg.

Both Jones and Gane are patient and methodical strikers and neither has huge one-punch knockout power. Seven of Jones’ last nine fights have gone to decision, and four of Gane’s last seven fights have gone to decision. Jones and Gane also both have strong defense, which is evident in their striking metrics. Gane’s chin was tested in his most recent fight against Tai Tuivasa, but Gane showed strong composure and recovery skills after getting hit with a Tuivasa bomb that would have knocked out many other fighters.

We could see a methodical, slower-paced fight that primarily takes place at range between two fighters who have strong defense, making this fight a good candidate to be prolonged. Picking the fight to go the distance also creates margin for error in picking the winner of the fight, which is notable given the uncertainty as to how Jones will look coming off a long layoff and moving up to a new division.

Pick: Exact Method of Victory: Decision (-135)

Same Game Parlay (SGP) is available on DraftKings Sportsbook for the UFC! To place a SGP:

  1. Find a fight that has the SGP icon in the top-left corner.
  2. Toggle “Same Game Parlay” on. Once it’s on, all available bets will appear.
  3. Build your Same Game Parlay. Combine multiple bets together from one fight. The more bets you combine, the more you can win.
  4. Place your parlay. Add your Same Game Parlay to your bet slip, enter your wager amount, and submit your bet.

Read more about SGP at the DraftKings Sportsbook SGP page!

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.