Three years out for 35-year-old Bones
But talent should endure and method of victory markets appeal
Question marks in Gane's previous form
UFC 285 sees the return of Jon 'Bones' Jones to the UFC octagon. It's been a three year layoff for the man who many MMA fans view as the greatest of all time.
Questions about 'Bones' Jones
Three years out of the cage is a long time no matter how talented you are. One of the questions around Jones this weekend is how he'll look given the long break, extra weight and that he's now 35 years old. Will he look as good as ever? The more pertinent question is does he need to look as good as ever in order to win? Probably not would be my guess.
Jones has always been able to cut corners professionally because of his supreme talent. He's beaten some of the best fighters in the world having spent his training camps partying as well as other nefarious activities.
He has ferocious ground and pound and can be utterly dominant from top position. He throws elbows as hard as punches and is brilliant when within kicking range. Largely, I think Jones mixes the martials better than Gane.
I struggle to get past that Ciryl Gane got out grappled by a one-legged Francis N'Gannou. That's a really bad look and suggests deficiencies that will take longer than the 13 months since that fight to overcome. MMA maths is far from an exact science, but it also suggests most versions of Jon Jones can have their way with Gane in the grappling world.
What does a Gane win look like?
Kickboxing is likely Gane's clearest path to a victory here. However even that range opens its own multitude of issues for the Frenchman. If he can dip in and out of kicking range landing ones and twos, then moving away he certainly has a viable path to picking up a win.
However, that path for Gane probably needs a very below-par performance from Jones and 'Bon Gamin' to be at his absolute best. The chances of both those things happening aren't fairly reflected by the Frenchman's price of 11/8.
Jones gets it done
As he has done throughout all the trials and tribulations of his career, I think Jones will get it done against Gane. While his price has been fairly clipped in since opening, I think the method of victory markets offer a nice boost on his win price.
When I think about how this fight plays out, I can see Jones taking Gane down at will and piecing him up with vicious elbows and frightening ground and pound leading to a TKO victory. At 7/2 it's a very backable price.
Enjoy the fights and salute to all the midnight coffee drinkers staying up to watch!