Jon Jones outlines ‘holes’ in Ciryl Gane’s game ahead of UFC 285 main event

Jon Jones has specificed which areas of Ciryl Gane’s skillset he expects to expose at UFC 285, as the pair clash for the vacant heavyweight title.

After a three-year absence, former light-heavyweight champion Jones returns to the Octagon to make a long-promised move to heavyweight, where he takes on former interim champion Gane.

Speaking at a pre-fight press conference on Thursday (2 March), Jones said: “I respect Ciryl Gane, I really do. I say this humbly, but I study film constantly and I just see a lot of patterns. When he is in one stance, there’s things he really loves to do; he goes to the same well a lot. When he’s in the opposite stance, he has a lot of tendencies.

“Two other big holes are jiu-jitsu and wrestling. I realise he doesn’t have much wrestling. He relies on evasion, trying to get away. He relies on jiu-jitsu instead of solid takedown defence. Same with the ground game; I watched Francis Ngannou be able to rack up maybe five or six minutes of top time in that fight, and Francis is not a guy that’s known to control people on top.

“[Gane] does have the striking down,” the American added. “I don’t think, defensively, he’s a very strong kickboxer, [but] he has a really nice offence. His defence is mainly in his footwork. I would say that his footwork is rare for a heavyweight, [but] it’s not something he sustains for an entire fight. Round 1, Round 2, maybe even Round 3, depending on how things are going, he moves around a lot more than the average heavyweight. But I’ve seen through footage that usually by the championship rounds, a lot of that bounce is gone.

“Then another thing that makes him really different, a lot of heavyweights they depend on proper defence to block punches and block kicks, whereas we notice Ciryl Gane just likes to back out really quick. But that’s his gift, the ability to move his feet. Outside of that, I feel like everything in his skillset are things that I’ve seen before.”

Gane, 32, is 11-1 as a professional, with the Frenchman suffering his first defeat in mixed martial arts in January 2022, when he was outpointed by former teammate Ngannou – who employed a surprising wrestling display to retain the heavyweight title.

Ngannou left the UFC this January, relinquishing the heavyweight belt to set up the main event of UFC 285, in which Jones will finally bid to become a two-weight champion.

Jones, 35, is 26-1 (1 No Contest) as a professional, with his sole defeat having come via a controversial disqualification in 2009.

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