The hype and controversy surrounding UFC 297 mostly fall onto the main event of the evening. Sean Strickland has caused lots of controversy in the media in the days leading up to the fight. Comments about the LBGTQ community have gained national attention and put many eyes on this fight for one reason or another. The two recently got into a brawl in the crowd at UFC 296, where Strickland jumped over a section to attack an antagonizing Dricus du Plessis. The problems seemed to settle as the men landed in Canada for their fight, however, tensions are still high.
Dricus du Plessis earned the title shot in July after a spectacular upset win over Robert Whittaker. The South African was able to neutralize ‘The Reaper’ and stunned everyone when he knocked him out in round two. After the win, it was clear that du Plessis was next in line to face Israel Adesanya for the belt. However, things don’t go as planned in this sport, as du Plessis was unable to fight two months later at UFC 293 in September. Due to Adesanya already being locked in for the card, the UFC pivoted to another option in the meantime.
That option was Sean Strickland, who was coming off two big wins over upcoming prospects. Strickland seemingly earned a title shot in 2022 after defeating Jack Hermansson and extending his win streak to six, however, he took an unnecessary fight against Alex Pereira and was KO’d in the first round. The loss lit a fire under Strickland and led him right into a massive upset of Israel Adesanya in Australia. The win gave Strickland much fame and allowed people to hear him a lot more. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up for you to decide, but no one can deny the heart Strickland showed to persevere and secure a title 20 fights into his UFC career.
Sean Strickland vs. Dricus du Plessis Recap
The first round saw both fighters finding success by picking their shots. The champion peppered du Plessis with jabs as he came in, but the challenger landed the harder blows throughout the round. A big exchange at the end of the round saw both men land some massive shots.
The second round saw a lot more success for the South African, who started to land hard shots while upping the volume. A late takedown for Dricus du Plessis put the cherry on top of a very solid round, however du Plessis’ eye was slowly swelling shut.
Strickland seemed to pick up on this between rounds and made it a target in round 3. Despite the jabs coming down the middle, du Plessis found success by ducking off to the side while throwing hooks. The challenger was the aggressor as the fight went on, with Strickland being on the back foot for the majority of the round. The awkward striking seemed to be working for du Plessis, who was controlling the pace at this point.
Strickland heated up to start round 4, but was soon met with some heavy shots from the challenger. Some heavy shots from du Plessis had a clear effect on Strickland whos head was popping back with every big shot landed.
Both men came out battered in round 5, which consisted of some big exchanges in the center of the cage. du Plessis’ eye was swollen but not shut and Strickland’s blood was dripping down from his left eye. A few big right hands late from Strickland caught the attention of the challenger, who was quick to return the blows.
The winner was not clear as we went to the decision. Both men fought their hearts out and the fight was truly up for grabs after the final bell.
The scorecards read a split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) for Dricus du Plessis, who claims the middleweight belt in a close win. The South African improves to 7-0 in the promotion and lines up a potential fight with Israel Adesanya.
UFC Fighters React to Dricus Edging Back and Forth War
UFC fighters reacted to the close fight and gave their opinions on the winner:
How did you feel about the decision? Is Israel Adesanya next for Dricus du Plessis or is a rematch in order? Let us know in the comments below.
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