This article is part of our UFC Picks series.
The UFC returns to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 285 on Saturday, March 4. In the main event, the vacant heavyweight title is up for grabs as Jon Jones returns against Ciryl Gane. Valentina Shevchenko also defends her flyweight title in the co-main event.
Below, I'll share my favorite play, an underdog, a prop and a two-fighter parlay. All odds are via the DraftKings Sportsbook and are accurate as of the post date of this article.
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Jon Jones (26-1) vs. Ciryl Gane (11-1)
Jon Jones opened as the betting underdog, which was surprising to see, as he is considered by many to be the GOAT of the sport. Even though he is a -165 favorite, I still think there is value on him here, as I personally have him lined at -200.
Although Jones is ending his three-year layoff, he has been training throughout the time off, and I like this matchup for him. 'Bones' is a great wrestler, and that is the weak point for Gane. We saw Francis Ngannou take the Frenchman down four times, while Gane also has a 55 percent takedown defense.
On the feet, Jones is still hard to hit, like Gane is, as this will be a chess match. But, I just trust Jones more, and expect he will get timely takedowns. Not only do I think Jones will win, but I also think he finishes Gane. But, at -165, I'll just take Jones to get the win.
UFC 285 Best Bet: Jon Jones (-165)
Weight Class: Lightweight
Jalin Turner (13-5) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (21-2)
Mateusz Gamrot is stepping up on short notice against Jalin Turner, and I actually like Turner as the betting underdog here.
Gamrot is coming off a decision loss to Beneil Dariush and is a tough out for anyone with his grappling and striking. Furthermore, we have seen Turner get outwrestled before, as Matt Frevola was able to take Turner down at will (though that was back in 2019).
On the feet, Turner is extremely dangerous and will have a sizable reach advantage here. Turner throws a ton of volume, as he lands 6.48 significant strikes per minute while Gamrot only lands 3.26.
When I spoke to Turner, he said he has been working on his grappling and wrestling for years and actually expected Dan Hooker to wrestle him. With that, I do think Turner can keep it standing and will land the better shots to edge out a decision. To me, I think Gamrot should only be about a -130 favorite, so to get +180 on Turner is solid.
UFC 285 Best Bet: Jalin Turner (+180)
Weight Class: Women's Flyweight
Amanda Ribas (10-3) vs. Viviane Araujo (11-4)
Amanda Ribas vs. Viviane Araujo is a very intriguing fight and one I think goes the distance, which is why I like Ribas by decision here.
Ribas is coming off a split decision loss to Katlyn Chookagian in a fight she looked impressive in, as she had success on the feet and with her wrestling. Ribas has a lot of success in her fights because she throws a ton of volume, as she lands 4.46 significant strikes per minute while also only absorbing 2.57 -- making her a tough target to hit. Araujo, meanwhile, also throws a lot but takes far more punishment, as she lands 4.82 while absorbing 5.33.
The two combatants both have good takedown defense, which is why I think this stays standing and on the feet. Ribas will land the better shots and edge out a decision.
UFC 285 Best Bet: Amanda Ribas by decision (+140)
Weight Classes: Strawweight & Bantamweight
Tabatha Ricci (7-1) vs. Jessica Penne (14-6)
Cameron Saaiman (7-0) vs. Mana Martinez (10-3)
For my parlay, I'm taking Tabatha Ricci to beat Jessica Penne and Cameron Saaiman to defeat Mana Martinez at UFC 285.
Ricci and Penne were supposed to fight back in October, but Penne fell ill, and the fight was scratched. The two have since gotten rebooked, and this is a fight I love for Ricci. Penne doesn't throw much volume on the feet and is there to be hit, but the difference in this fight will be Ricci's grappling. Ricci averages 3.95 takedowns per 15 minutes, while Penne has a 40 percent takedown defense. I expect Ricci to out-wrestle Penne and win a decision.
The other leg is the very next fight in the lineup, as I like Saaiman to remain undefeated in a tough test against Martinez. After Saaiman won on the Contender Series, Dana White called him the future, and he has looked impressive in his career. The South African is extremely hard to hit and is pretty active on the feet, while also possessing the ability to get some takedowns.
This is a good test for Saaiman, but I think he is the better technical striker and will also get timely takedowns to win the rounds and get a decision.
UFC 285 Best Bet: Tabatha Ricci & Cameron Saaiman parlay (-130)
UFC 285 Best Bets
Here is a recap of my best UFC picks for this weekend's UFC 285 event:
- Jon Jones (-165)
- Jalin Turner (+180)
- Amanda Ribas by decision (+140)
- Tabatha Ricci & Cameron Saaiman parlay (-130)
For up-to-date information on the latest odds and props from multiple sportsbooks, check out the UFC odds page on RotoWire.
If you're in Ohio where legal betting just launched, check out Ohio sports betting promos. With Massachusetts set to launch March 14, residents can pre-register now for many Massachusetts sports betting promos as well.