UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane Predictions, Analysis, and Free Picks
Official Selections: 65% (+12.8 Units) | YTD Premium (All) Picks: 44-26 (63%)
It was another winning night for subscribers, as we finished UFC Vegas 70 going 2-1 (+4 units) for our third straight week in the black. Premium subscribers, who received a selection on every single fight, finished the night 6-4 (+1.7 units), moving to 44-26 (63%) on the year.
Our two big bets in Joe Solecki and Trevor Peek were never in doubt, both finishing inside two rounds and going almost exactly as I called for.
We are heating up at the right time, as attention now turns to the third PPV card of the year and the return of the GOAT Jon Jones. Before we dive in, here is a quick reminder of how PPV cards differ in coverage and what’s included behind the paywall:
Full access to analysis and selections for Prelims & Main Card
Picks w/ confidence level for every single fight on all three cards
Modeled odds for every single fight on all three cards
Dashboards for every single fight on all three cards
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Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Early Prelims: 5:30 PM EST - ESPN+
Prelims: 8:00 PM EST - ESPN News/ESPN+
Main Card: 10:00 PM EST - ESPN+ PPV
While the return of Jon Jones is certainly the centerpiece of this card, there is no shortage of intriguing matchups throughout. In the co-main, Valentina Shevchenko puts her flyweight belt and nine-fight win streak on the line against Alexa Grasso in a fight that has a ton of potential.
Elsewhere, Bo Nickal makes his long-awaited debut in the UFC, jumping straight to the main card with just one professional fight to date outside of DWCS. Ian Garry also makes his return to the octagon, a welterweight prospect I’ve been high on since his amateur days.
The more I’ve dug, the more I love this card, so without further ado; let’s dive in.
Da’Mon Blackshear vs. Farid Basharat
Two UFC newcomers will square off in this one, and while the market clearly favors Basharat, I’m going in a slightly different direction with this handicap.
A bit of recency bias I think is in play here on the total rounds market, as both guys come in with one fight each in the UFC (Basharat was technically DWCS); both of which went the distance.
Starting with Blackshear, six of his previous wins came inside the distance, five of which came via submission. A similar history reads for Bashrat, who at 9-0, finished six of his first eight opponents inside three rounds.
On average, 71% of these two’s combined wins have come inside the distance in their professional careers.
On a macro scale, and a trend that certainly passes the smell test for historical figures, so far in 2023, 10 of the 14 (71%) fights that had a favorite of -300 or more have ended inside the distance. Remove fights involving women from those numbers and the percentage increases to 85%.
With Basharat likely getting it done between the two, I like for this one to end early in one form or another.
Pick: Goes to Decision - No (-105 at BetUS)to risk 2.1 units
Jessica Penne vs. Tabatha Ricci
This will be the least surprising pick on the card for long-time followers, as I’m once again riding the age factor angle here. That is, which is now improved to 65%+, when two fighters have a 6+ year age difference, the younger fighter wins more often than none.
This one is 12 years, and just the start of the handicap.
For the 40-year-old Penne, a former strawweight title contender, just two wins since 2014 paints the picture for a fighter plagued by injury and sickness that has largely kept her out of the octagon. With more canceled bouts (9) than actual UFC fights (6) since joining via The Ultimate Fighter, Penne has been the model of inconsistency.
As for “Baby Shark” Ricci, a UFC debut loss to Fiorot in 2021 was followed up by two wins in a six-month span. A third win here likely catapults her into the strawweight top 15, as the division is as shallow as they come in the UFC.
In terms of metrics, while things are close on the feet, Ricci holds large edges striking defense), takedown averages (3x), and takedown accuracy (2x). While Ricci’s size usually causes her to take a while to get going, I think she ultimately gets this one done with relative ease.
Pick: Tabatha Ricci (-230 at DraftKings Sportsbook) to risk 4.6 units
Prelims & Main Card
All Fights - Picks w/ Confidence Levels & Modeled Odds
YTD Record: 44-26 (63%, +6 units)*
*All bets are one unit
All Fights - Dashboards (not found above)
*All odds as of the day of posting.
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