Jon Jones submitted Ciryl Gane in the first round to win the vacant heavyweight title at UFC 285 on Saturday.
Jones, seen by many as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, was fighting for the first time in three years, and he required just two minutes and four seconds to seal the most sensational of returns.
The American, whose career has been marred by numerous failed drug tests and run-ins with the law, is a former two-time light-heavyweight champion, and talks of a move to heavyweight first began 10 years ago. That move finally materialised at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, as Jones and Gane clashed for the title vacated by Francis Ngannou in January.
Gane, whose only prior defeat came at the hands of Ngannou last year, immediately landed a kick to the groin of Jones, who took a moment to recover.
Once the action resumed, Jones took the centre of the ring and pressed forward. Gane, 32, soon overshot with a southpaw cross, and Jones was quick to take the Frenchman’s back.
The 35-year-old dragged the former interim champion to the canvas, and though Gane was able to stand, he was soon floored again.
Jones then locked in a guillotine choke with his opponent against the fence, and Gane could only resist for so long before tapping out.
Jones used his in-ring interview after the main event to call out Stipe Miocic, who is widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history – and who was at ringside for UFC 285.
In 2011, Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history at the age of 23, and “Bones” went on to beat numerous past and future champions, while recording 15 title fight wins – the most ever in the promotion. However, he was twice stripped of the light-heavyweight title and once stripped of the interim belt, due to two failed drug tests and an arrest respectively. Jones, who reclaimed the gold in 2018, last fought in February 2020, retaining the belt with a controversial decision win against Dominick Reyes.
In the co-main event of UFC 285, Alexa Grasso stunned Valentina Shevchenko with a fourth-round submission to win the women’s flyweight title and hand her opponent a first loss in six years.
With that result, Grasso became the first female Mexican champion in UFC history. She also became the third active Mexican champion, with Brandon Moreno currently holding the men’s flyweight belt and Yair Rodriguez serving as interim men’s featherweight champion.
Full UFC 285 results
Jon Jones def. Ciryl Gane via first-round submission (guillotine choke, 2:04)
Alexa Grasso def. Valentina Shevchenko (C) via fourth-round submission (rear nake choke, 4:43)
Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Geoff Neal via third-round submission (rear naked choke, 4:17)
Mateusz Gamrot def. Jalin Turner via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Bo Nickal def. Jamie Pickett via first-round submission (arm-triangle choke, 2:54)
Cody Garbrandt def. Trevin Jones via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Dricus Du Plessis def. Derek Brunson via second-round TKO (towel thrown in, 4:59)
Amanda Ribas def. Viviane Araujo via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26, 30-27)
Marc-Andre Barriault def. Julian Marquez via second-round TKO (strikes, 4:12)
Ian Machado Garry def. Song Kenan via third-round TKO (strikes, 4:22)
Cameron Saaiman def. Leomana Martinez via majority decision (29-26, 28-27, 28-28)
Tabatha Ricci def. Jessica Penne via second-round submission (armbar, 2:14)
Farid Basharat def. Da’Mon Blackshear via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Loik Radzhabov def. Esteban Ribovics via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
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