UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland will square off against No. 2 ranked Dricus Du Plessis in the main event at UFC 297. The five-round title bout will take place on Saturday, January 20, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada.
28 - 5 - 0
Dricus Du Plessis
Odds To Win
Sat, 20 Jan, 2023 - 10pm (ET)
Strickland (28-5-0) will defend his title for the first time after stunning two-time champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 293. The American has posted three straight wins after suffering losses to Jared Cannonier and Alex Pereira in 2022.
Du Plessis (20-2-0) upset Robert Whittaker last summer with a second-round TKO at UFC 290. The South African has finished 16 of his 20 wins in the first or second round.
Strickland (-138) is a slight favorite to successfully defend his middleweight championship against Du Plessis (+108), per FanDuel sportsbook. But the underdog is a rising star in the UFC and has tallied four knockouts in six wins since joining the promotion. This bout is a toss-up with both fighters capable of leaving the Octagon with the title belt.
Strickland controlled the pace of the fight to score a major upset over Adesanya in September to capture the middleweight belt. The American boasts an average fight duration of 14 minutes and 43 seconds and lands 5.82 significant strikes per minute with a 41% striking accuracy.
The 32-year-old is a patient fighter who likes to use his jab excessively before finding an opening for a right cross. Strickland excels at defensive striking and has a sterling 63% defense rate. His path to victory lies with limiting the aggressiveness of Du Plessis while carrying the fight to the later rounds.
Du Plessis is an aggressive fighter with elite striking power. The South African is a superior striker who lands 6.95 strikes per minute with a striking accuracy of 55%. Although his takedown skills are underrated, he averages 2.72 takedowns every 15 minutes with a takedown accuracy of 50%.
The former EFC Middleweight Champion will struggle to take down Strickland, who sports an eye-opening 84% takedown defense. Thus, Du Plessis's path to victory is to dictate the pace of the fight with his powerful strikes. The challenger has an average fight duration of 9 minutes and 11 seconds, which might spell trouble if the fight goes the distance.
Du Plessis plans on bringing the same intensity that has allowed him to finish all but one of his 20 professional wins.
"One thing that I think is going to shock a lot of people is the way I go at this," the soon-to-be 30-year-old said in an interview with My MMA News. "From the very first second of this fight, I'm going to go like I always do. The first opportunity I get, I will finish this fight. My honest prediction, there's no way we're going to championship rounds of this fight."
Betting Pick: Strickland
Betting odds for this much-anticipated middleweight title fight are live on the best UFC betting sites, including FanDuel, which has listed Strickland as a -138 favorite. The most common bet type for this UFC fight is the moneyline, a wager on who will win the fight outright.
Considering how the American dazzled in an impressive showing to dethrone Adesanya at UFC 293 four months ago, Strickland is the favorite. However, Du Plessis has reeled off eight consecutive wins and has not tasted defeat since 2018, which has the oddsmakers making this title encounter a close call. Strickland is our pick to win the fight, and a $100 wager on the champion at odds of -138 would net a total payout of $172.46.
The Over/Under bet is another popular type, where you wager on the number of rounds the fight will last. Given that five of Strickland's previous six wins went the distance, we expect the fight to end in a decision. Thus, betting Over 3.5 rounds could be a winning pick.
The five-round middleweight championship fight will take place on Saturday, January 20, at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. Mixed martial arts fans in New York can watch the fight live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland is the slight favorite to beat Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297. Strickland is a -138 betting favorite, while Du Plessis is the +108 underdog, per FanDuel.
#2-ranked Raquel Pennington (15-9-0) and #3-ranked Mayra Bueno Silva (10-2-1) will battle for the vacant women's bantamweight championship. Other fights on the undercard include welterweights #13-ranked Neil Magny (28-12-0) and Mike Malott (10-1-1), featherweights #3-ranked Arnold Allen (19-2-0) and #9-ranked Movsar Evloev (17-0-0), bantamweights Brad Katona (15-2-0) and Garrett Armfield (9-3-0), and a middleweight clash pitting #13-ranked Chris Curtis (30-10-0) against Marc-Andre Barriault (16-6-0, 1NC).
Bets can be placed during the fight as it is happening with live UFC odds that are constantly changing based on what's happening real-time inside the Octagon. The most popular types of in-play bettings are moneyline wagers representing the odds for who will win the fight outright. Other live betting types include the method of victory and how long the fight will last.
UFC fans can place wagers on this exciting middleweight championship bout at FanDuel, a popular and trusted sportsbook in New York.