Strickland was the Fighter of the Year 2023 as he got three wins in a row which included beating Israel Adesanya to win the title at UFC 293. Dricus Du Plessis is on a 6-fight winning streak which saw him become the #2 ranked middleweight in the UFC Rankings. The pair got into a big brawl at UFC 296 and had several comments for each other before and after that incident. Did the intensity make its way into UFC 297 main event also? Check the live updates below.
Round 1: Strickland starts with a few kicks to the calf and midsection. Dricus is unable to find his range in the opening minute while the champ is letting his jab go at will. Dricus lands a couple of jabs as the second-minute starts. More action from DDP but Strickland pierces his defense multiple times with his jabs. DDP lands a high kick midway into the round. Strickland also lands another jab through the guard. DDP hits a couple of calf kicks. A punch to the shoulder and a kick on the other side from DDP. He gets a takedown and gets Strickland to the corner. Strickland tries to get up but DDP gets him down once again before they come to a stalemate. DDP lands a kick to the ribs before they both throw more jabs. Strickland lands a big right to end the round.
Round 2: DDP misses a big right. He throws a calf kick and punches which catches Strickland’s shoulders. Strickland connects a hard jab but DDP quickly hits a back fist. An overhead left from Strickland staggers DDP. More piercing jabs from Strickland. Strickland evades a back fist and a kick to the ribs before landing more jabs. DDP is landing a few calf kicks in between. They continue to dance around for the next minute. Strickland checks a calf kick. DDP lands a body kick before a combo of punches as he gets closer now. He lands more shots on the head before a single leg takedown. Strickland tries to circle at the back, but DDP is alert and they return to the middle. DDP’s left is swolen with jabs from Strickland.
Round 3: DDP blocks several jabs with his hand before landing a high kick. Strickland’s jabs go through as the first-minute ends. DDP lands several different kicks. He gets a punch to the ribs. Strickland is looking more technical and DDP is showing more and more flair attempting big moves like backfists and all. Strickland is sticking to his jabs as the round progresses. DDP keeps attempting kicks and back fists. Sean lands a hook to end the round.
Round 4: Strickland hits quick jabs but only a couple gets past DDP’s guard. DDP is trying to push Strickland back with his shots. He attempts a takedown but Strickland finally manages to defend it. Strickland lands a few good rights. DDP lands a right. Strickland is also bleeding now. DDP lands a big body kick but Strickland catches him with another punch. Both men keep firing punches. DDP gets a takedown when Strickland tries to get into a clinch. DDP lands a right and Strickland is pouring down blood. DDP lands another jab on the cut and a few more. He lands a head kick. He is keeping the champion on the backfoot completely now. DDP gets a takedown. Strickland tries to hang onto the cage but DDP hits a German suplex. The final minute starts and they are back to the middle. Both men look tired now and neither is able to land anything big. DDP loads up but misses. Strickland lands a combo of jabs before the round ends.
Round 5: Strickland blocks DDP’s varied array of moves to start the round. He lands his jabs before a big uppercut. DDP keeps looking for kicks and back fists. Strickland keeps up with the jabs. DDP lands a combo. Strickland keeps working with his own punches and is now adding overhead rights to it. DDP keeps loading up and missing. Strickland is getting more jabs connected. Strickland shuts down a takedown in the middle of the round. DDP lands a jab but Strickland lands an overhead right. This is going to be a very close fight. More and more shot are landing for Strickland. DDP lands a body kick before the final minute starts. DDP also lands some jabs. Neither man is shying from throwing their hands, but are having varied success in landing them. Strickland attempts a knee strike in the final seconds but it does not go through.
Official Decision: Dricus Du Plessis won via split decision(48-47, 47-48, 48-47).