Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) returns from a layoff of more than three years to face Gane (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) for the vacant heavyweight belt in Saturday’s headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
Jones’ toughest fights have come against longer and taller opponents such as Alexander Gustafsson, Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes, who all took the former light heavyweight champ to the brink – and Cruz expects Gane to be able to trouble him in the standup, too.
“His base style does bring what he needs to do naturally – which is move his feet the whole time, lateral movement side to side, don’t go straight back in straight lines, and finish his combinations with kicks and he does all these things naturally,” Cruz told Helen Yee. ”
“He’s very tricky, and he’s so big and so lengthy that any time Jones has faced somebody that length, he’s taken some damage and had a tough time. Alexander Gustafsson – I mean, that’s really the one that gave him the hardest time, that was the tallest. Maybe Dominick Reyes. So when you look at that, those little issues of the length and the damage that they can create, Ciryl Gane brings naturally.”
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However, Cruz thinks the X-factor in the fight is Jones’ wrestling, which he doesn’t see Gane being able to handle.
“The problem is he just doesn’t have the grappling,” Cruz said. “There’s no way. Jon Jones was one of the best grapplers in the 205-pound division 10 years ago. He’s definitely the best grappler in the heavyweight division. So how do you get past Jon Jones being able to grab a hold of you, double underhook you on the fence, take you down, elbow you, and either mount you and elbow you to death, or when you turn your back because you don’t want to get elbowed, you get choked? That’s how I see this going over a short period of time.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.