UFC 297, set to ignite the MMA world on January 20, 2024, promises an exhilarating start to the UFC’s pay-per-view events for the year. This remarkable event, marking UFC’s seventh visit to Toronto and the first since December 2018, is headlined by the much-anticipated middleweight championship bout between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis.
Additionally, betting markets are enthusiastic, particularly in Australia and New Zealand. Fans keen on wagering can explore diverse offers and insights on platforms like SpinBet NZ, which provides detailed information about UFC betting.
The event is highlighted by a women’s bantamweight title fight, establishing the first UFC event in years to feature two major title clashes.
The Middleweight Title Showdown
Sean Strickland’s Journey
Sean Strickland’s rise to the middleweight championship is a story of resilience. After a loss to Alex Pereira and a subsequent win over Nassourdine Imavov, Strickland made a decisive comeback.
His victory against Adesanya at UFC 293 showcased his striking prowess, placing him seventh all-time in significant strikes in UFC history. Strickland’s defence is equally impressive, evading 66% of significant strikes, a testament to his tactical acumen.
Dricus Du Plessis
Dricus Du Plessis, the South African dynamo, has been a force of nature in the UFC. His undefeated 6-0 record in the organization, including wins over Whittaker, Till, and Tavares, speaks volumes of his fighting calibre.
Du Plessis boasts the largest strike differential in middleweight history and an unmatched strike rate. His grappling skills are equally formidable, with high takedown accuracy and efficiency.
Analyzing Strickland vs. Du Plessis
A combination of relentless pressure and an active guard marks Sean Strickland’s fighting style. Despite his less focus on power, his output, stamina, and tactical fighting approach make him a formidable champion. His journey from a seventh-ranked fighter to the champion epitomizes his evolution in the octagon.
Du Plessis’ Approach
Du Plessis is known for his aggressive fighting style, characterized by a high pace and a willingness to engage in intense exchanges.
His power, once questioned, has been proven with knockouts like the one against Whittaker. However, questions linger about his stamina, especially in longer, five-round fights.
Co-Main Event and Undercard Highlights
The Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight
The co-main event features a battle for the vacant women’s bantamweight title between Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva. This fight gains extra significance as it crowns a new champion following Amanda Nunes’ retirement.
UFC 297’s undercard is brimming with talent and potential show-stealers. Notable matchups include Neil Magny vs. Mike Malott in a welterweight bout, Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev in a high-stakes featherweight bout, and other exciting clashes across various weight classes.
UFC 297: Strickland vs. Du Plessis is shaping into a spectacular event, offering a perfect blend of skill, strategy, and raw power. The main event promises an evenly matched battle, making predictions challenging. With a robust undercard supporting two title fights, this event is set to captivate MMA fans and add a thrilling chapter to UFC’s history.