SATURDAY, MARCH 4 UFC 285: JONES vs. GANE "BABY SHARK" TABATHA RICCI vs. FORMER TITLE CHALLENGER JESSICA PENNE
WOMEN'S STRAWWEIGHT SHOWDOWN LIVE on ESPN T-MOBILE ARENA LAS VEGAS, NEVADA LAS VEGAS, Nevada — UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane, which will be headlined by a heavyweight world title fight, will also feature a long-awaited and highly anticipated strawweight showdown when the promotion returns to the Fight Capital of the World on the first Saturday of March. UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane takes place Saturday, March 4th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main event will feature a heavyweight world title fight between former two-time UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane. The fight card will also feature the return of BJJ and Judo black belt Tabatha "Baby Shark" Ricci as she faces former UFC title challenger Jessica Penne. This matchup was previously scheduled to happen at UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan in October, but Penne withdrew from the bout on the morning of the weigh-in due to illness. Ricci (7-1) returns to the UFC Octagon to continue her unbeaten run as a strawweight and rapid ascent in the sport. "Baby Shark" is a native of Birigui, São Paulo, Brazil and holds the rank of black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. She was signed to the UFC after winning 3 fights in just 9 months for the LFA, which is the UFC's premier developmental organization. Those wins came against Kelsey Arnesen (Unanimous Decision), Vanessa Grimes (Submission), and Shawna Ormsby (TKO) in a variety of ways, which showcased her diverse skill set. The proud Biriguiense now looks to go 3-0 as a UFC strawweight and 8-0 overall in the division. Her previous two UFC wins were earned with dominant Unanimous Decision victories over fellow Brazilian prospects Maria Oliveira and Polyana Viana. She now hopes that a third win for the promotion, over a former title challenger, is enough to get herself in the official UFC rankings.
Penne (14-6) is one of the founding members of the UFC strawweight division as she competed on the twentieth season of The Ultimate Fighter, which crowned the inaugural strawweight champion at the show's finale in 2014. After advancing to the semi-finals of the tournament, Penne won her UFC debut against Canadian standout Randa Markos. This win earned the southern Californian a shot at the UFC strawweight title against Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2015. The Polish legend had defeated the inaugural champion Carla Esparza three months earlier and her fight with Penne marked her first title defense in her record-setting run of title defenses in the division. Penne enjoyed a return to form in 2021 by earning a pair of victories over former LFA champion Lupita Godinez and former UFC title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Those wins solidified her place as one of the most talented fighters in the division.
UFC 285 is scheduled to begin with the early preliminary card at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT on UFC Fight Pass. That will be followed by the regular preliminary card at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. on ESPN and ESPN+. The main card will begin at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT on ESPN PPV. VIP Ticket Experiences for UFC 285: Jones vs. Gane are on sale now at AXS.com and UFCVIP.com.