Du Plessis Steals Title From Strickland in Split Decision at UFC 297

January 22, 2024
1 month

After a lot of ugly, tough talk in the leadup to the fight, neither Sean Strickland nor Dricus Du Plessis delivered on their promises of a violent finish to win the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 297. Instead, the two men engaged in a tactical bout that divided people over who won. Du Plessis ultimately got his hand raised to win the championship after two judges saw the bout in his favor, 48-47. 

UFC CEO Dana White said in the post-fight press conference that he believed Strickland won. But White acknowledged other people sitting near him believed du Plessis had won the fight. Winning the championship was a thrill for du Plessis, who took some criticism for the promotion for not stepping in on short notice to fight former champion Israel Adesanya last year.

Strickland stepped in instead and pulled off the upset. The main card for UFC 297 left many people feeling underwhelmed. The women’s bantamweight championship was criticized for its quality. Four of the five fights on the main card went to a decision, according to MMA news sites.

Pennington Reaches the Top

Six years ago, Raquel Pennington was knocked out in the fifth round of a UFC bantamweight championship fight with Amanda Nunes. Following the loss, Pennington’s record fell to 9-6, and it appeared unlikely she would ever get a chance to win a championship again, at least in the UFC. Pennigton, 35, capped a six-fight winning streak by defeating Mayra Bueno Silva to win the championship Saturday night.

Pennington fought off a submission attempt in the first round but was never seriously challenged. Silva ran out of gas by the third round and needed help mounting any offense. Many people were dismayed that Pennington couldn’t get a finish. MMAfight latest updates show that Silva was fatigued late in the fight and didn’t appear to have the energy to stand up to Pennington’s striking.

Magny Says Malott Shall Not Pass

Canadian fight fans were thrilled to have a big UFC event in town. The Canadian male fighters who fought Saturday night may have wished the event was in a much more remote part of the world. Mike Malott’s late collapse against Neil Magny was a devastating loss for a Canadian fighter.

The 36-year-old Magny, the UFC’s all-time wins leader at welterweight, showed why he has staying power. Malott, an up-and-coming Canadian fighter, had his hype train driven off the tracks in the third round. Magny, known for his incredible durability during his career, was controlled by Malott for the two-and-a-half rounds. 

However, Magny reversed a position late in the fight and put Malott on the mat. Magny would then rain down heavy ground and pound to force a stoppage with 15 seconds left in the fight, according to the best MMA news site.

Action Man Drains the Powerbar

Chris Curtis did what he usually does. The American middleweight is patient and prefers to take his time to get into fights. Curtis worked the body and ended up winning a decision by being more accurate than Marc-André Barriault.

Curtis landed 54 percent of significant strikes, while Barriault landed at 50 percent. Curtis outstruck Barriault in every round. While Curtis outlanded Barriault in every round, he had to sweat out a split-decision victory as the scorecards were read.

Evloev Has Toughest Fight

Movsar Evloev stayed undefeated with a narrow win over Arnold Allen. While Evloev won the fight 29-28, he didn’t have an easy night at the office. Allen was an active grappler, making it difficult for Evloev to score takedowns.

In the third round, Allen fired three aggressive knees at Evloev, cutting the Russian fighter around his ear. However, Allen was given a warning by official Marc Goddard, as all three knees were close to being illegal, as Evloev had put his hand on the octagon to try and stop Allen from throwing the knees. Allen was also worse for wear after the fight, wearing a shiner underneath his eye.

Canadian Women Dominate Brazilian Opponents

While the Canadian fans in attendance were disappointed with how their homegrown male fighters competed, the two female fighters turned in impressive performances. Gillian Robertson put on a grappling clinic against Polyana Viana.

Robertson controlled the first round with her wrestling, keeping Viana on the mat. The second rough went the same way before Robertson overwhelmed Viana with ground and pound to earn a second-round stoppage. Jasmine Jasudavicius followed a similar path to victory.

However, Jasudavicius’ ground strikes weren’t enough to earn a stoppage from the referee. At one point, Jasudavicius had a 228-4 edge in strikes landed on her opponent, Priscila Cachoeira. Jasudavicius had to fight at a catchweight after Cachoeira missed weight. Despite being battered and bloodied, the referee didn’t step in to save Cachoeira from strikes.

Instead, Cachoeira would be caught with an anaconda choke in the third round.

Flick Starts the Night With High Energy

Jimmy Flick had retired from the UFC following a December 2020 win over Cody Durden. However, Flick decided to come back in 2023, but things didn’t go well. He suffered two knockout losses and appeared like his best days were behind him.

But Flick reminded Malcolm Gordon during the first fight of the UFC 297 card that you don’t want to let the bout get to the ground. While Gordon rocked Flick early in the second round, Gordon decided he wanted to grapple. Flick would reverse the position and submit Gordon with an arm-triangle choke.

Flick has a 17-7 record in his career, and 15 of those wins have come by submission. Here’s a look at the other fights on the card not mentioned above:

  • Bantamweight: Garrett Armfield defeats Brad Katona by decision, 29-28 x3
  • Featherweight: Sean Woodson defeats Charles Jourdain by split decision (Woodson 29-28 x2, Jourdain 29×28)
  • Catchweight: Ramon Taveras defeats Serhiy Sidey by decision (Tavares 29-28×2, Sidey 29-28)
  • Welterweight: Sam Patterson submits Yohan Lainesse, Round 1 2:03

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