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IT. IS. OFFICIAL!
After three years away from the octagon, former light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones will finally make his return to action - and in a big way.
It was announced late last week that the UFC and heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou failed to come to terms on a new contract after a lengthy amount of time spent negotiating. The UFC released Ngannou from his deal and the former champion vacated his title in the process.
On the same day, the UFC announced that the vacant title would be competed for between former interim champion Ciryl Gane and - yes - the former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.
Jones has not fought since his controversial decision title defense over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in early 2020. He vacated the title shortly after, citing contract disputes as well as a desire to move up to the heavyweight division.
When the cage door closes behind Jones and Gane at UFC 285 this March, it will mark three years since Jones last competed.
Cyril Gane, however, has remained active all this time. After winning his first ten fights as a professional and capturing the interim heavyweight title, he fought Francis Ngannou for undisputed gold. However he was defeated by unanimous decision.
Gane has since recovered from the loss. He headlined the UFC’s first event in his home country of France last September, defeating fan favorite Tai Tuivasa by third-round TKO.
Gane will stand one inch taller than Jones, but, as has been the story throughout his career, Jones will enjoy a significant reach advantage.
TALE OF THE TAPE
6 ft. 5 in.
6 ft. 4 in.
26-1, 1 no-contest
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The odds for this match are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.
Also announced last week was the rematch between welterweight champion Leon Edwards and former champion Kamaru Usman. This title fight will be the main event for UFC 286 - taking place just two-weeks after the Ciryl Gane vs. Jon Jones heavyweight title fight.
These two fought for the title in the main event of UFC 278 last August, with Usman entering as the champion. Despite a dominant performance throughout, Usman was caught with a head kick in the fifth-round by Edwards in what was deemed the ‘knockout of the year.’
After winning the title, Edwards believed that Usman would be granted an immediate rematch and he wasn’t wrong. However, the rematch will take place at the 02 arena in England - Edwards’ home country.
Including his win over Usman, Edwards has now won ten fights in a row (with one no-contest). His last loss came in 2015 against Kamaru Usman.
Yes - this is the rubber match. The trilogy fight. With both fighters having one win and one loss against the other.
Prior to his knockout loss last summer, Usman had not lost since 2013, compiling a 19-fight professional winning streak that included 15-straight wins in the UFC and five title defenses.
Both men stand at equal height but the former champion Usman will have a two-inch reach advantage.
TALE OF THE TAPE
20-3, 1 no-contest
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