UFC 285
Jon Jones, center, celebrates after defeating Ciryl Gane in a UFC 285 mixed martial arts heavyweight title bout Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

UFC 285 Recap: Jones, Grasso, Nickal Make History in Las Vegas

History was made at T-Mobile arena on Saturday for UFC 285. Former Penn State national champion wrestler Bo Nickal won his UFC debut. Alexa Grasso became the first Mexican-born UFC Women’s champion. Jon Jones returns after three years to become UFC Heavyweight champion.

B0-Lieve the Hype

The hype train for UFC’s newest rising star Bo Nickal (4-0), 27,  just got a lot more passengers after his first UFC career win. The former Penn State wrestler defeated Jamie Pickett (13-9), 34, in convincing fashion by first round submission in the main card opener. The gravity of the moment wasn’t lost on Nickal even during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.


Pickett’s Team Files Grievance

However, Bo Nickal’s first UFC career win wasn’t without controversy. Pickett’s team will appeal the result to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The grievance is an alleged illegal low blow knee strike by Nickal to Pickett’s groin. Pickett appeared to grimace from the pain of the low knee strike allowing Nickal to proceed with a take down leading to an arm-triangle choke for the victory.

Nickal, seemingly annoyed by the news, scoffed at Pickett’s team intention to file an appeal during the post-fight press conference.

“I’m not a cheater,” Nickal said. “I’m not someone that tries to take shortcuts, so if I did hit him low, I would have just relaxed probably or let the ref stop it.”

If the appeal is successful the result will be rendered a no-contest in the middleweight bout.

Nickal’s newly found stardom in the UFC most certainly put a target on his back from both fans and MMA competitors. Before the fight, Michael Chandler had some advice for the Penn State wrestling standout during the media press conference. Chandler’s advice to Nickal is to be less “talkie” before establishing himself in the sport. Chandler cautioned the newcomer about rubbing the UFC and MMA fanbase before making a name for himself.

Grasso Upsets Shevchenko at UFC 285

Alexa Grasso (16-3), 29, became the first Mexican-born women’s UFC champion. The T-Mobile Arena was stunned after Grasso submitted Valentina Shevchenko (23-4), 34, in the fourth round with a rear naked choke.

Shevchenko walked into Las Vegas on a nine-fight win streak. She further established herself in the octagon, efficiently landing 78% in total strikes, 60% in significant strikes and 66% in takedowns. A spinning back-kick was the one catastrophic mistake Shevchenko made allowing Grasso to capitalize. Grasso instinctually mounted the back of Shevchenko to sink in a rear-naked choke at 4:34 of Round 4 to capture the UFC Flyweight title.


Grasso, during the UFC 285 post-fight press conference attributed her title victory to her team and family.

“I have an amazing team behind me this is my family,” Grasso said. “We have a lot of talent in my gym and I’m so [so] proud of that.”

Grasso continued when asked about little girls watching her historic victory

“I wish that every single woman in this Earth can learn mixed martial arts. It’s important for all of us to learn to defend ourselves and it’s not just the physical thing. It’s about the mental game. Your heart, your feelings, it keeps you always strong to avoid dangerous situations.”

After tapping to Grasso this past Saturday, Shevchenko blamed a “stupid situation” for her loss and will seek an immediate rematch with the new Mexican-born champ.

Jones on top in Heavyweight Division

The wait and the debate is over. Jones (27-1, 1 NC), 35, returned to the octagon after three years becoming the new UFC Heavyweight champion. Jones submitted a formidable Ciryl Gane (11-2), 32, in Round 1 via guillotine choke. Gane’s sole strike on Jones was an inadvertent illegal kick to the groin. The fight only lasted two minutes and four seconds.

Jones owned the records for longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18) and most title fight wins in UFC history (14) prior to Saturday’s heavyweight bout. Now, Jones adds another accolade, becoming the eighth fighter in UFC history to win titles in two divisions.

“I just try to take it one fight at a time, one year at a time,” he said.  “I do fight to live forever in some sense. It’s an honor that years from now people will talk about me in barbershops as the greatest of all time…but I want more challenges.”


It didn’t take long for the newly crowned heavyweight champion to pivot his focus to his next challenge: Former UFC champion Stipe Miocic. UFC President Dana White confirmed to media members over the weekend the ideal scenario for Miocic vs. Jones would take place during International Fight week in Las Vegas on July 8.

About T.J. Legacy-Cole

T.J. Legacy-Cole is a published journalist, Sports Editor, host of The Soapboxx Podcast, and radio personality. Throughout his career he has been featured on many multimedia platforms such as TMZ Live, ESPN Radio, NPR Radio, Fox News Radio, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports, USA Today, and more. Legacy is also an avid MMA and pro-wrestling enthusiast covering major events such as WWE WrestleMania and UFC pay-per-views.

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