Morning Report: Israel Adesanya picking Ciryl Gane over Jon Jones: ‘This is a guy to wake up for’

UFC 285 Press Conference
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Israel Adesanya’s pick is in for the big UFC 285 main event.

MMA’s arguably greatest fighter of all-time is finally back after a lengthy hiatus, making a long-awaited fight fan dream come true. Jon Jones will debut in the heavyweight division, attempting to capture vacant UFC gold tomorrow night opposite Ciryl Gane, and everyone’s questions surrounding “Bones” will be answered.

Jones departed the light heavyweight division after a close and hard-fought unanimous decision win over Dominick Reyes in Feb. 2020. The win capped off a relatively lackluster string of performances for the legend compared to what fans grew accustomed to seeing. Jones has since alluded to having lost some motivation and “fear” as a dominant reigning champion, therefore, leading to his transition to a new weight class. For the former middleweight titleholder Adesanya, he feels all the factors around Jones will provide an uphill battle.

“If you want to wake up for a guy in the morning, this is the guy,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Ciryl Gane, ‘Bon Gamin,’ he’s game. This is a guy to wake up for. I think cause of activity, to be honest, and who he is, I’m gonna go Ciryl, but I won’t be surprised if ‘Bones’ wins.”

Gane has also held UFC gold in his still-young 12-fight MMA career, capturing an interim crown in 2021. The Frenchman came up short in his undisputed bid vs. Francis Ngannou early last year, but started strong and had many believing he would cruise to a victory.

Unfortunately for Gane, Ngannou handed him his first and only loss via a unanimous decision. Gane has since rebounded with a wild third-round knockout of Tai Tuivasa this past September in his home country, displaying that he’s very much still a heavyweight to be reckoned with.

“I can’t front, this is that fight,” Adesanya said. “Jones out for three years, Gane’s been active he’s a ‘new’ breed of heavyweight. He’s light on his feet, very, very mixed striking, good grappling. People forget just cause Francis took him down, but I think that’s the element of surprise as well. Francis is strong as f*** and knows how to wrestle, so when Gane wasn’t expecting it, he thought he was gonna have to bang with Francis cause that’s what Francis is known for.

“Gane can grapple, man. The way he fights as a heavyweight, he’s so light. He does the oblique kick well, great footwork, good submissions so far. Real random ones, like a heel hook. Good leg kicks as well.”

While Adesanya and Jones have had some personal differences and back-and-forths on social media during Jones’ absence, “The Last Stylebender” still respects the abilities of the former light heavyweight king. Ultimately, Adesanya feels his fellow striking sensation, Gane, must be taken seriously.

“Jones’ wrestling, that’s his superpower, isn’t it?” Adesanya said. “And range control. The thing is three years, bro. Three years away from the game is a hard ask for any man just to be away from fighting for that long. There’s a few — special few — that can actually f*** off and come back and still look great, and I feel like Jon’s one of them.

“But again, when you talk about special few fighters, trust me, Ciryl’s one of those guys as well.”


Assessment. Jon Jones explains why he considers Ciryl Gane most incomplete heavyweight at top of division

Banter. Conor McGregor, Charles Oliveira trade shots after ex-champ backs Michael Chandler to win TUF fight

Redemption. Cody Garbrandt confesses his ‘life was in shambles’ before flyweight debut: ‘I wasn’t in a good place’

Surprise. Jon Jones fires back at critics after debuting new heavyweight physique: ‘Good thing it’s not a bodybuilding competition’

Content. Phil De Fries not eyeing UFC return with KSW success, targets ‘dream come true’ Alistair Overeem fight

Versions. Ciryl Gane’s head coach ‘expecting the Jon Jones we saw in the second fight’ with Daniel Cormier at UFC 285

???. Jon Anik reveals his burning question for Jon Jones’ heavyweight debut at UFC 285

Nope. Charles Oliveira will ‘never’ watch his loss to Islam Makhachev, demands title shot with UFC 288 win over Beneil Dariush


Between the Links.

UFC 285 Pre-fight press conference.

UFC 285 Presser staredowns.

Jones vs. Gane predictions.

Embedded 4.

Ciryl Gane’s greatest hits.

Farid Basharat – Next Level.

Jones vs. Nickal.

DC checks in with Bo Nickal.

CCC Breakdown.

RIZIN Landmark 5 hype.

PFL Challenger Series week 6 weigh-in recap.


Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck counts down to UFC 285, reacts to Luke Rockhold and Eddie Alvarez signing with BKFC.



Future champ…?


Eye test.

An essay from DC.



Road to UFC.


Get some fans, Jon.

President O’Malley.

Got ‘eem.

A kick?!



Dialed in.

The notorious Jiri.


Manuel Torres (13-2) vs. Trey Ogden (16-5); UFC San Antonio, March 25

Rani Yahya (28-10-1, 1 NC) vs. Montel Jackson (12-2); UFC Vegas 71, April 22

Rena Kubota (13-4) vs. Claire Lopez (7-4); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 30

Koji Takeda (15-4) vs. Luiz Gustavo (12-2); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 30

Johnny Case (22-6) vs. Ali Abdulkhalikov (11-2); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 30

Kazuma Kuramoto (10-3) vs. Shinobu Ota (2-2); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 30

Tsuyoshi Sudario (6-2) vs. Roque Martinez (16-8-2); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 30

Kanna Asakura (19-7) vs. Mei Yamaguchi (21-14-1); RIZIN Landmark 5, April 30


I have a feeling this fight will end up being much less competitive in either direction than I think we would hope for it to be. So many questions!

Happy Friday, gang. Enjoy the chaos of 285. Thanks for reading and thanks for the torch, Jed.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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