Crowning the heavyweight king


Over the past several years, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has grown to be one of the most popular sports in America, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has recently cultivated this by promoting bigger fights with higher stakes. “UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane” is an upcoming MMA event which will pit professional fighters Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane against each other for the title of Heavyweight Champion. 

“I think that MMA is really interesting because combat in a controlled and mostly safe environment can be like an art form, and really entertaining to watch. [Jones] is awesome and I want to see the other guy get destroyed,” Jordan Williams, senior, said. 

UFC 285 will begin with fights ranging from strawweight (115 lbs) to middleweight (160 lbs) in the men’s and women’s weight categories (which are separated for a fair competition). Many of these bouts, such as a welterweight (140 lbs), between Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmanov, were expected to happen at past events; however, they were delayed after subsequent injuries or illnesses with the fighters. The women’s flyweight (110 lbs) championship between Valentina Shevchenko, the current champion in the category, and Alexa Grasso, ranked #5 in the category, is another largely awaited fight. These factors of unintended delays and a secondary championship event will ensure that UFC 285 is filled with much anticipated fights from start to finish. 

“I find the intensity of [MMA] more exciting than other sports. I think the anticipation is what makes it so exciting for me. Waiting for the next hit is exhilarating,” Sophia Moore, junior, said. 

The main event, Jones vs. Gane, will be a bout for the MMA record books regardless of who wins. Jon Jones, the former two-time Light Heavyweight (200 lbs) Champion, will be the eighth multi-division champion in the organization’s history if he wins. Ciryl Gane, ranked #1 in the UFC men’s heavyweight (230 lbs) category, will be the organization’s first ever French champion if he takes the title instead. Jones boasts a win/loss record of 26-1, while Gane has a record of 11-0, meaning the loser will take a devastating tally to the lack of losses they currently have. 

“I think the main event will be a close fight. Both Jones and Gane are very smart when it comes to fighting; however, Gane has been a heavyweight his whole career. Jones is now moving up to heavyweight for the first time in his career. Gane will clearly have a strength advantage, but Jones is a much more completed fighter, dominant in his career. I believe Jon Jones will scrape the victory, but I will not be surprised if Gane wins,” Ben Furman, senior, said. 

UFC 285 will take place on March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tickets for the event are in high demand, ranging from $400 to a whopping $16,000 to see the fights up close. The fact that this event will heavily influence the future of UFC and perhaps American MMA in general is undeniable.