UFC 285 result: Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic, what’s next for Bo Nickal, Alexa Grasso and Shavkat Rakhmonov

Jon Jones is your new UFC heavyweight champion and the path is clear for a dream fight with Stipe Miocic. Jones and Miocic are arguably the best light heavyweight and heavyweight fighters in mixed martial arts history, respectively. Jones crossed Cyril Gane at UFC 285 on Saturday and immediately set his sights on his fellow legend.

Jones is now surrounded by rarefied air, including longtime rival Daniel Cormier, as the eighth two-division champion in UFC history. In the aftermath of UFC 285, Jones issued the challenge to Miocic.

An even bigger shocker played out a match earlier. Alexa Grasso cashed in as a +450 underdog against longtime, reigning UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. The main card also featured an exciting UFC debut from highly successful wrestler Bo Nickal and a major showcase for Shavkat Rakhmonov, a potential future title challenger.

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Let’s break down the best fights to make from UFC 285.

Heavyweight class

UFC Heavyweight Championship — Jon Jones (c) vs. Stipe Miococ: A dream matchup between the most successful UFC lightweight and heavyweight champions in history appears to be in the works. UFC president Dana White confirmed at Saturday’s UFC 285 post-fight press conference that Jones vs. Miocic was next. White did not set a date or location, but Miocic has repeatedly claimed the fight will headline UFC 290 at International Fight Week on July 8. This is definitely a reasonable time to close the match. Jones deserves to be UFC heavyweight champion and Miocic is best positioned for a title shot. While it’s true that Miocic has been absent since losing to Ngannou in 2021, Sergey Pavlovic — the only contender more deserving of a shot — is woefully lacking in name value and has a fight booked. There’s no time like the present and everyone seems united. Let’s book Jones vs. Miocic while there’s still a chance.

Cyril Gane vs. Tom Aspinall: Gane collapsed in the worst possible way against Jones and has to work hard to fix his image. Fortunately, Gane didn’t absorb any damage in the fight and can do a quick reversal. Ranked No. 1 in the UFC heavyweight rankings, at least until Monday, a fight against No. 6 Tom Aspinall makes sense. Aspinall looked to be the next big thing before suffering a horrific knee injury 15 seconds into a match with Curtis Blaydes. Aspinall resumed racing in January and may be on the verge of a comeback. If Gaine can stay patient, it makes sense to fight his losing Pavlovich vs. April’s Blaydes match.

Women’s flyweight division

UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship — Alexa Grasso (c) vs. Valentina Shevchenko: If ever there was a champion who deserves an immediate rematch, it’s Shevchenko. She holds the record for most women’s title defenses in the UFC and lost due to a tactical error. Grasso certainly proved to be a worthy opponent and is the rightful champion, but the performance wasn’t dominant enough to dismiss Shevchenko’s chances at a rematch. Grasso can cement her place as the future and Shevchenko can turn back the clock. It is the race to be done.


Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Colby Covington: It took Rachmanov until the last minute of the final round, but he marked his 17th career shutout in equal number of games against Jeff Neal. Rakhmonov has lived up to his lofty expectations as a credible world title threat five fights into his UFC career. It is a brute force that can stop you with strikes or submissions. He overpowered Neal, one of the most powerful and technically sound strikers in the middleweight division, before choking him out. Dana White said Covington was itching to fight. Khamzat Chimaev’s future at welterweight looks murky and Rakhmonov is poised to take his place as the almighty welterweight destroyer. A win for either fighter would significantly boost their stock and give them leverage for a title shot.

Geoff Neal vs. Sean Brady or Michel Pereira: Neal deserves credit for putting on a gutsy performance. He received many punishments but never gave up. In fact, he almost knocked out Rakhmonov in Round 3. White was so impressed with Neal’s performance that he paid Neal a Fight of the Night bonus despite Neal’s weakness after the weight cut. A March 25 game between Brady and Pereira was scrapped after Brady suffered a torn groin. Depending on the recovery time of each, you could book a match between Neal and either of them. Pereira would gladly trade Neal on the legs, while Brady would use a heavier matchup game against the elite forward.

Medium weight

Bo Nickal vs. Wellington Turman or Chris Weidman: Nickel burst the doors off Jamie Pickett in his UFC debut. However, knees to the groin (missed by the real-time ref) killed some fans in Nickal’s otherwise spectacular start. Nickal is only 4-0 as a professional fighter since making the switch from amateur wrestling to MMA last year. The problem is that you can only match with Nickal from here. Turman is a fighter who has been very inconsistent in the UFC, but he is a much more capable grappler than Pickett. If you want to get really weird about it, Weidman started competing in grappling after suffering a horrific knee injury against Uriah Hall in 2021. He certainly has the experience and wrestling foundation to test Nickal. Mix that with his lingering star power and crippling offensive threats, and he could be a springboard for Nickal.

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