UFC 285: Reviewing the Fastest Growing Sport in the World

A Synposis of the UFC with an Analysis of its Most Recent Event


It seems that mixed martial arts is taking the sports world by storm. According to a recent study by Parimatch, the UFC is the fastest-growing sports league in the world, with a significant increase in financial growth over the last five years. This study compared UFC pay data to other sports, and it turns out that MMA is coming out on top.

Speaking of the UFC, let’s talk about one of the most recent events, UFC 285. This highly anticipated card saw the return of Jon Jones, but it was also the stage for some up-and-coming fighters to make a name for themselves. Bo Nickal, a former Penn State wrestler, made an impressive debut by submitting Jamie Pickett in the first round. However, the victory was not without controversy, as Pickett’s team filed a complaint about an alleged low blow knee strike to Pickett’s groin. Nonetheless, Nickal’s victory has certainly put him on the map and attracted even more attention to the already popular sport of MMA.

I’m not a cheater. 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.

— Bo Nickal

Nickal denied the allegations, stating, “I’m not a cheater. 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 upheld, the middleweight fight will be declared a no-contest. Nickal’s rise to fame in the UFC undoubtedly landed him in the crosshairs of supporters and MMA rivals. Before the fight, Michael Chandler had some words for Bo during the media press conference. Chandler’s advice to Nickal is to be less “talkie” before establishing himself in the sport.

Nickal is a former three-time NCAA champ, and he has a reputation for setting and achieving unattainable goals. He believes that his ambition to become the No. 1 fighter in the world is achievable, and he is already envisioning a mega-event at Allegiant Stadium. He is already targeting a bout against Khamzat Chimaev, one of the sport’s most intimidating grapplers, at the 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Chimaev is widely regarded as one of the most formidable prospects in world MMA, and he has impressed with his performances in the UFC. Nickal, however, is unfazed by his rival’s rapid success and believes that a clash between them is inevitable. The American wrestler is confident that he can defeat Chimaev and become the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the world. He also believes that their bout could become the biggest UFC spectacle in history, drawing a massive crowd to Allegiant Stadium.

In another popular fight, Grasso vs. Shevchenko, Alexa Grasso of Mexico became the first Mexican-born female UFC champion after surprising the crowd at the T-Mobile Arena by rear-naked choking Valentina Shevchenko in the fourth round. Grasso said, “I have a fantastic team behind me, this is my family,” in expressing gratitude for her family and team for helping her win the title.

Moreover, Grasso urged additional females to pursue mixed martial arts training, saying, “For more reasons than simply the physical, it’s crucial that we all learn how to defend ourselves. That has to do with the mind game. Your emotions and heart keep you constantly strong so that you can stay out of perilous circumstances.” Shevchenko, who took the loss to Grasso, attributed her defeat to a “stupid situation” and said she would like to fight the newly crowned Mexican champion again right away.

The wait is over, folks! Jones, who’s been out of the octagon for three years, came back with a vengeance and snatched the UFC Heavyweight championship title. He took down Gane, who’s no slouch, with a guillotine choke in the first round. Gane’s only hit was a dirty groin kick, which caused a short delay in the match. All in all, the whole thing lasted just over two minutes.

The fight started off with a bang as Gane’s first kick landed square on Jones’ cup, causing a quick break in the action. Once they got back into it, Jones responded with a sweet right hook. Slowly but surely, Jones kept the pressure on and backed Gane up against the cage. Gane swung and missed, and Jones capitalized by getting him to the ground with a takedown just over a minute into the fight. Jones tried to wrap his arms around Gane’s neck for a guillotine hold, but Gane managed to stand back up. Jones wasn’t deterred and quickly took him back down again, this time locking in a choke hold that forced Gane to submit. It was a pretty easy win for Jones, who is now the heavyweight champ of the world!

Before the fight, Jones already held some serious records, like longest unbeaten streak in UFC history (18) and most title fight wins in UFC history (14). And now, he’s got another impressive feat under his belt: becoming one of only eight fighters in UFC history to win titles in two different divisions.

I just try to take it one fight at a time, one year at a time. Of course, I want to be remembered as the best ever, but I’m hungry for new challenges.

— Jon Jones

When asked about his future goals, Jones played it cool: “I just try to take it one fight at a time, one year at a time. Of course, I want to be remembered as the best ever, but I’m hungry for new challenges.”

It’s worth noting that Jones has had a troubled past with law enforcement. He has been arrested a total of five times since 2012 for various offenses, ranging from driving under the influence of alcohol to domestic violence. The first arrest in 2012 was for driving under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in a $1000 fine and a six-month suspension of his license. Jones was arrested again in 2015 for a hit-and-run incident that resulted in him facing probation and the UFC stripping him of his title. In 2016, he was arrested for violating his probation. In 2020, he was arrested again for DWI, firing a gun, and driving without insurance, and in 2021, he was arrested for domestic violence, battery, misdemeanor, and damage to a police vehicle. Despite his promises to turn over a new leaf, it remains to be seen whether Jones can avoid further incidents with law enforcement in the future. On behalf of all UFC fans, Jon Jones needs to stay in at night.


Featured Image Courtesy of MMA Junkie