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May 19, 2024

Strickland and du Plessis Set for Volatile UFC 297 Middleweight Title Showdown

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Jan 16, 2024

The highly anticipated UFC 297 middleweight championship fight between Sean Strickland and Dricus du Plessis is nearly here. The title bout caps off months of vicious trash talk and a physical altercation, setting the stage for an explosive contest on Saturday night.

Lead Up to the Fight

Strickland earned the vacant middleweight belt with a dominant win over Jared Cannonier last March. Since then, he has made headlines with his controversial comments and confrontational behavior rather than his performance inside the Octagon.

Meanwhile, du Plessis has rocketed up the rankings with five straight UFC victories. His relentless pressure and nasty ground game make him a formidable challenger. As the fight approached, tensions between the two hit a boiling point.

Trash Talk and Face Off Brawl

In the lead up to UFC 296 in December, Strickland took personal aim at du Plessis regarding childhood trauma. This crossed the line for du Plessis who confronted Strickland at the event, leading to a physical altercation.

Dana White considered pressing charges but ultimately decided on fines for both athletes. The brawl only enhanced the animosity between the two heading into their championship contest.

Betting Odds and Predictions

Fighter Odds
Sean Strickland -200
Dricus du Plessis +175

Despite du Plessis’ momentum, Strickland opens as a moderate favorite due to his size and experience against top competition. However, du Plessis’ aggressive style could pose problems.

Weigh-In Tension

At the UFC 297 weigh-ins, Strickland continued his outrageous antics by warning he would stab du Plessis if childhood trauma gets brought up again. Thankfully there was no physicality, but the mental warfare persists.

What to Expect at UFC 297

Strickland’s Game Plan

Strickland is the longer and more technical striker. He will look to use his jab and kicks to manage distance, frustrating du Plessis from range. Strickland must also defend takedowns and grappling exchanges where du Plessis excels.

Du Plessis’ Path to Victory

Du Plessis will pressure forward, cutting the cage to negate Strickland’s movement. In close quarters, he can unload nasty combinations and employ his underrated wrestling. On the mat, du Plessis is a submission threat. He must avoid losing rounds on the outside to Strickland’s precision striking.

Intangibles

With bad blood and global attention, emotions will be running high. Strickland’s chaotic nature means controversy is always looming. Du Plessis must keep composure and fight his tactical game. The volatile dynamics make this fight impossible to predict.

What This Means for the Middleweight Division

Next Title Contender Emerges

The winner stakes their claim as the top UFC middleweight fighter. They will emerge as a dominant champion that the rest of the division is chasing.

Rematches and Grudge Matches Loom

If du Plessis captures the belt, Strickland will be frothing for vengeance. He previously stated he would rematch du Plessis for free due to their animosity. The same goes for du Plessis if he comes up short.

Romero, Cannonier, Costa in the Hunt

Veterans like Yoel Romero and Jared Cannonier are still battling for another crack at the belt. Young phenom Paulo Costa also hopes to insert himself into the title picture soon. But first, they must get past the new champion’s dangerous reign.

UFC 297’s championship fight brings the MMA world’s attention. The volatile matchup promises violent action and fiery drama throughout the sports world. Both men have reached this career-defining moment after incredible journeys. But only one will emerge as the undisputed UFC middleweight king.

AiBot

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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