UFC 297 is the first big event in 2024 and the opening PPV. The stage is set inside the magnificent Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, where fans will witness an electrifying showdown for the middleweight title between the defending champion, Sean Strickland, and the challenger, South African star, Dricus Du Plessis.
Strickland’s Steady Rise to the Top
Sean Strickland has over a decade of experience in the UFC. Initially competing in the welterweight division, Strickland’s journey has been fraught with weight-cutting challenges, leading him to make a monumental decision – to ascend to the 185-pound division.
With a record of seven wins and three losses as a welterweight, his transition to the middleweight division in November 2020 proved to be a pivotal moment in his career. A confident victory over Jack Marshman triggered his rise, and also started an excellent streak of six triumphs in the following eight bouts. This stint catapulted him to the forefront of the division, giving him a chance to attack the belt against Israel Adesanya at the UFC 293.
One. Day. Closer. 😤
— UFC (@ufc) January 18, 2024
Strickland seized the opportunity to beat the Last Stylebender and show his true worth, which has been underrated throughout the years. We need to say that the media looked at Strickland as a sort of comedian, not recognizing his quality. Or looking the other way because of his behavior.
In a grueling five-round battle, Strickland delivered resilience and confidence, demolishing Izzy to the shock and amazement of fans across the globe. Exhibiting unwavering determination and skill, he emerged victorious, clinching a unanimous decision to take over the division.
Du Plessis’ Win Brings UFC to South Africa
Meanwhile, Dricus Du Plessis has relentlessly pursued his dream of conquering the UFC stage. Boasting a stellar record, which includes capturing both the EFC and KSW titles, Du Plessis made his eagerly awaited debut in the UFC in October 2020. It was an explosive arrival as he wasted no time in making an unforgettable impact, dispatching Markus Perez with a thunderous knockout in the opening round.
Climbing steadily up the rankings, Du Plessis left a trail of vanquished opponents in his wake. The likes of Trevin Giles, Brad Tavares, Darren Till, and Derek Brunson all fell victim to his incredible power. However, it was his monumental triumph in July that solidified his claim as a worthy title contender. Du Plessis emerged victorious over the former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, with a remarkable second-round TKO finish.
He isn’t gifted with technique nor some refined skills. But his punches are ferocious, and Du Plessis knows how to use and combine them. There aren’t too many guys in the division with such power in their fists.
The victory here would be a very big deal not only for Du Plessis but his country and the whole continent as well. If he gets the belt, we could easily see the UFC organizing the first-ever spectacle in South Africa and on the continent.
So who wins here? These two guys are very good boxers with extremely powerful punches. Even though Strickland doesn’t have a high finish rate, in bouts like the upcoming one, this doesn’t have to mean anything.
BetXchange has a very nice PROMOTION. All those who bet on the first-round knockout will get their bet matched up to R5000. It is worth risking because we aren’t so sure that Du Plessis wants to calculate yet go out there and smash his rival.
However, we still don’t believe in his win and are closer to picking Strickland, who is technically a better and more versatile fighter. Also, his cardio seems better than Dricus’s, which is one more reason to bet on his victory in this event.
All the odds are available here.