Saturday night sees the first UFC pay-per-view of the new year with a title on the line in the main event of UFC 297.
It’s a fight between two men who could end it any time and we’ve got all the news from our Strickland vs Du Plessis prediction.
As well as the middleweight title on the line, things have got extremely personal between the two men in the build up to this one.
Strickland faces the first defense of the title he shocked the world to win, when defeating Israel Adesanya, and it’s not expected to be an easy night for him.
UFC 297: Strickland vs Du Plessis Prediction
Things have really heated up between the two fighters ahead of this one, and they’ve even had to be separated.
Will that play into our Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis prediction or will they be able to put their emotions aside and fight to the best of their abilities?
The 185 lbs gold is on the line between two men who have 20 TKO/KO stoppages between them in their MMA careers.
The bookmakers think that will be the same again but will our Strickland vs Du Plessis prediction agree?
Sean Strickland Preview
Anyone who tells you they expected Strickland to be going into 2024 as the middleweight champion is probably lying.
Few would have predicted Tarzan would defeat Adesanya when they met at UFC 293 back in September, but that’s exactly what happened.
Whether the bookmakers being so wrong last time will be part of our Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis prediction remains to be seen.
Pressure is different for the 32-year-old Californian now that he heads to the octagon with the belt in his possession, going from hunter to hunted.
Strickland has a 28-5 record in MMA with his most recent losses coming against Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier, in back-to-back fights.
However, since then he’s gone 3-0, including the win over Adesanya, and he’s only once previously had a better run in UFC.
He has 11 wins by TKO/KO and another 13 by decision, with submission his least likely route to victory, with only four wins, and the last one coming in 2014.
Strickland is usually a jab heavy fighter but he has shown his power, most recently in stopping Abusupiyan Magomedov.
Winning the title will also give him massive confidence and he may look to finish this one inside the distance.
He lands 5.82 strikes per minute, giving you some insight into how it’s likely he’ll finish this one, if he is to.
After their exchange at UFC 296 and their war of words, Strickland will need to keep his calm in order to win.
Dricus Du Plessis Preview
There are few bigger hitters in UFC right now than Du Plessis and it’s unlikely he’ll want this one going very far into the five rounds.
That will certainly have to have a say when it comes to our Strickland vs Du Plessis prediction because we won’t be suggesting the challenger wins on points.
The 30-year-old South African has a 20-2 record in MMA but he is yet to taste defeat in his six fights in UFC.
He may not have had a long career in the promotion to date but there’s no doubting he’s built an impressive resume already.
Only his victory over Brad Tavares has come from the judges’ scorecards and every other fight has failed to go the distance.
There’s one submission win in there, via face crank against Darren Till, and the other four fights have been stopped thanks to his fists.
Du Plessis’ latest win against Robert Whittaker earned him this title shot and showed everyone exactly how dangerous he is in the middleweight division.
Stillknocks throws 6.95 strikes per minute and lands with 55% of them, but the big worry for Strickland will be his defense.
The champion allows 4.24 shots through per minute, whilst Du Plessis absorbs 3.79, although percentage-wise Strickland is better.
But letting any shots to go through against Du Plessis would be a mistake, considering his record when it comes to stopping people.
Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis Prediction: KO Is The Way To Go
Whilst Strickland could win this one by taking it to the judges, our Strickland vs Du Plessis prediction has to see someone win it inside the distance.
The champ is a narrow favorite and is available at -125 on the Moneyline, whilst the challenger is +125.
We’ll go further though and give the American the victory via TKO/KO which is available at +200.
No one is expecting the action to last long and the first round is the favorite for when this one will end.
However, we’re going to back the fight to end in Round Two at +350, as Strickland may look to fight behind the jab in the first five minutes, before really finding his range.
Just incase it is all over in a flash, our third prediction goes to Strickland to win in rounds 1-2 at +350.