UFC 285 Preliminary Card – A Potential Treasure-trove for the Future of UFC

UFC 285 brings together the two heavyweights, Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane, in an explosive fight for the vacant heavyweight title at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. But this is not exactly what this write-up is about. It’s not about what’s already phenomenal. It’s about the potential of something even greater, the UFC 285 Preliminary Card.

The UFC is returning to its earlier 2021-2022 trend, which saw the preliminary contests contain several esteemed matchups. It is possible that the winners of two separate prelims could be connected to championship fights in the future.

So, let’s look at what’s so great about UFC 285 Preliminary Card, just like UFC 285: Jones Vs Gane Pre-fight Breakdown gives you a much needed insight on the main card of the event.

1.   Cody Garbrandt vs Trevin Jones

Trevin Jones has been offered the opportunity of a lifetime – facing former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt on March 4th at UFC 285. ESPN initially noted the matchup and was officially confirmed by Mike Heck of MMA Fighting. Julio Arce was originally due to face Garbrandt but had to withdraw from the bout due to an undisclosed injury.

Trevin Jones will have his chance to be in the spotlight on March 4th when he confronts former UFC bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt. Going into the fight, he has lost three bouts on the trot against Saidyokub Kakhramonov, Javid Basharat, and Raoni Barcelos. In five appearances with the UFC, he holds a losing record of 1-3 with one no-contest. Most recently, he was defeated via a unanimous decision in October by Raoni Barcelos.

After seeing no success in his previous attempt to drop down a weight class, “No Love” Garbrandt is shifting back to the bantamweight division. He has gone 5-5 in his past 10 bouts and will look to turn things around by showing off his former championship form.

Garbrandt is searching for a return to glory after struggling in his last six outings. Since he won the bantamweight title by defeating Dominick Cruz in 2016, the 31-year-old has lost five bouts, with four of those ending with a knockout. His most recent match saw him move up to the flyweight division in December 2021, but it ended in defeat via first-round KO courtesy of Kai Kara-France.

The Game

Both fighters are in dire need of a victory, and Garbrandt has the added pressure of living up to his former championship form. His fall from grace has been one of the most visible ones in UFC history, so he’ll be hoping that Jones replacing Arce is what he needs to get back on track. Neither fighter enters this matchup with much momentum, meaning both men may turn to the boxing ring for their winning strategies.

Jones may have confidence in testing Garbrandt’s chin, but “No Love” is still the more diverse and technical fighter between them. He also has superior speed, which could give him the edge he needs to pull off a victory.

When it comes to striking, Cody has the advantage with 3.16 significant strikes landed per minute compared to Jones’ 2.33. This could be a decisive factor. And with Cody also being the heavier puncher, he might be able to capitalize on this strength. Grappling is unlikely to be a significant factor in the fight, but it’s another option Garbrandt may consider should he choose to go down that route.

Our Pick

This fight is likely to mirror many of Cody Garbrandt’s past fights. Both fighters have the power to put their opponent away, and Cody is in a prime position to get a big win by stoppage.

2.   Derek Brunson vs. Dricus du Plessis

Du Plessis is a 29-year-old fighter from South Africa who has solid size and an incredibly aggressive fighting style. His durability and power have earned him a spot in the top ten middleweight fighters, and he has had 20 fights in the UFC. Brunson, on the other hand, remains a mystery ahead of this contest.

Brunson has been a top UFC middleweight for over a decade, only losing to champions or title contenders. However, at 39 years old and nearly a year removed from his last fight, it is fair to wonder if he remains at the same level as before.

While Brunson’s gas tank has been a downfall at times, it is important to note that his lack of discipline could be his greatest obstacle. He has been known to exhaust himself before the end of the first round. However, this has become less frequent in recent contests. Yet, even with his improved conditioning, he found it difficult to control the explosive Cannonier without tiring out quickly.

If Brunson isn’t able to stay disciplined and conserve his energy, Du Plessis’ constant activity could force him to expend too much of his resources early, preventing any chance of a second wind. While we have seen Brunson recover from being hurt, it is unclear whether he could ever find another gear if the fight goes longer than expected.

Brunson’s ground game is a huge factor in this fight, as it has rarely been tested and could pose a problem if Du Plessis can take him down. While Brunson has never been submitted in his career, if he tires out or gets hurt late in the fight, Du Plessis’ underrated BJJ skills could be the difference-maker that gives him the victory.

The Game

Brunson has proven himself an extremely dangerous fighter, capable of beating any opponent on any given night. While it is possible he has declined since his last fight, there are no signs of this yet, and even if he has, it’s unlikely that the decline would be so steep as to allow Du Plessis to overpower him. With Brunson being doubted so many times in the past and delivering solid performances, you can never count him out in a fight.

Our Pick

Du Plessis is undeniably the favorite going into this fight, and it’s easy to see why. While he may have some defensive holes, his youth, and continuous improvement make him a threat to put Brunson away. Despite the odds being heavily skewed in favour of Du Plessis, it’s not hard to understand why he should win. If you take a closer look at their skillsets and past performances, it’s easier to see why he should come out on top.

3.   Viviane Araujo vs. Amanda Ribas

This weekend, two of the top female fighters in the 125-pound division will square off in a highly anticipated match. Both fighters are looking to rebound from losses and get closer to a shot at a title. With both sides hungry for a win, this is sure to be an exciting fight that could shape the future of their respective careers.

Viviane Araujo - UFC 285

Araujo (11-4) is currently ranked #8 in the official UFC flyweight rankings and has won five of her eight fights with the promotion. The Brazilian is no stranger to making a statement, as she demonstrated in her UFC debut with a knockout against Talita Bernardo. Since then, she has gone on to clinch decision wins over Andrea Lee, Roxanne Modafferi, and Montana De La Rosa, showcasing impressive striking skills and power along the way.

Ribas (10-3) is ranked #4 as a strawweight fighter and has won five of her seven fights in the UFC. She has shown off her well-rounded skills in the Octagon, submitting Emily Whitmire and Paige VanZant, and outpointing Mackenzie Dern and Randa Markos along the way. Ribas is also known for her charisma in and out of the cage, becoming a fan favorite in recent years.

Amanda Ribas - UFC 285

However, Ribas’ undefeated run ended abruptly when Marina Rodriguez knocked her out at UFC 257 in January 2021. She had attempted a takedown early in the second round, only to be caught by surprise right hand from Rodriguez. Ribas has since recovered from the loss and is currently on a two-fight win streak, defeating Virna Jandiroba and Katlyn Chookagian.

This is an important bout that could shape the future of the flyweight division and create some exciting matchups down the line.

The Game

To be successful, Araujo must capitalize on Ribas’ defensive weaknesses by forcing the fight into boxing range. Ribas has major technical deficiencies in her guard and often falls for feints and energetic movements. Araujo needs to capitalize on these flaws if she hopes to come out on top.

Despite these weaknesses, Ribas has a distinct advantage in other areas, such as her kicking ability and clinch game. She often uses her kicks sparingly throughout the fight, which could be a solid asset to counter Araujo’s strategy. Additionally, her clinch game gives her an edge over Araujo in close-range combat.

Our Pick

This fight will likely remain standing, with both fighters having strong takedown defense. Ultimately, Ribas is likely to prevail due to her better striking and greater control of the bout. She should be able to outscore Araujo and secure a decision victory.

4.   Julian Marquez vs. Marc-Andre Barriault

At UFC 285, Julian Marquez and Marc-Andre Barriault will clash in a middleweight bout. Both fighters are coming off losses in their last fights and will be keen to make an impression with a victory on the preliminary card. It’ll be an intriguing matchup, as both men have something to prove after their most recent outing.

Julian Marquez - UFC 285

Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez (9-3) is a fan favorite due to his exciting style and charismatic personality. He has made a name for himself in the UFC, with three of his five bouts ending in submission victories. Notable wins on his record include Maki Pitolo and Darren Stewart.

Marc-Andre “Power Bar” Barriault (14-6) has had an up and down journey in the UFC. However, he’s managed to get his career back on track with three wins in his last five outings. Most notably, he impressively submitted Jordan Wright to prove he is a force to be reckoned with at middleweight.

Marc-Andre Barriault UFC 285

This fight is sure to be a thrilling affair between two relentless finishers. Julian Marquez has proven his grit in the octagon and will look to use his grappling advantage and submission skills against Barriault. On the other hand, Marc-Andre Barriault brings an impressive striking volume and accuracy into the bout, which could be a major factor in the outcome. Both fighters have displayed immense heart and durability in their previous matches, but this contest could potentially expose some weaknesses in either man’s game plan.

The Game

This fight at middleweight is set to be an intense, high-paced affair. Julian Marquez is a powerful puncher, but his durability has been questioned in the past and could be exploited by Barriault’s grinding style of fighting. On the other hand, Marc-Andre Barriault typically overwhelms opponents with his unrelenting pressure on the cage before unleashing powerful boxing combinations. Both men must push themselves to their limits if they want to emerge victorious from this match.

Our Pick

Marc-Andre Barriault is the chosen fighter for this match. He looks to use his superior fence work to pressure Julian Marquez from the outset. As the fight progresses, Barriault will aim to keep the initiative, seeking every opportunity to exploit any weaknesses in his opponent’s defence.