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UFC 297 LIVE: Strickland vs Du Plessis fight updates and results tonight

Re-live updates from the middleweight title fight, as well as a clash for the vacant women’s bantamweight belt

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Sunday 21 January 2024 08:38 GMT
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Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou face off before Saudi Arabia bout

Dricus Du Plessis took the middleweight title from Sean Strickland at UFC 297 on Saturday, beating the controversial American via split decision.

Strickland won the belt from Israel Adesanya in September, in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, but his first defence was an unsuccessful one.

Du Plessis entered the main event on the back of a surprise TKO of former champion Robert Whittaker last July, and although the South African failed to replicate that explosive performance, he just did enough to emerge victorious.

After five rounds, the judges’ scorecards read 48-47, 47-48, 48-47 in favour of Du Plessis, though the result could easily have gone the other way.

In the co-main event, Raquel Pennington beat Mayra Bueno Silva via unanimous decision to win the vacant women’s bantamweight title. Re-live updates and see all the results from UFC 297 below.

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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Round one

Du Plessis is already sporting a cut on his nose. He just misses with a cross from southpaw. More laser jabs by Strickland.

Du Plessis with a wild overhand right; Strickland backs up and leans away to evade. Winging right hook by Du Plessis is just off target.

Du Plessis shoots for a double-leg and drives the champion all the way to the fence, where he dumps down Strickland.

Strickland stands, but he’s dragged down again. He stands again, and Du Plessis backs off.

Du Plessis’s right eye is showing signs of bruising. A high kick nearly lands for the South African.

Big right hand by Strickland, just before the buzzer!

Good signs from Du Plessis, but Strickland’s jab was the difference in that round.

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 06:10
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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Round one

Both men stand orthodox. Strickland flicks out some jabs, now a front kick to the body.

Low kick by Strickland. Du Plessis goes southpaw, then switches back. Another front kick by Strickland, but it’s off target.

His jabs are working nicely, though. Du Plessis tries to get his own jab going. Another lands for Strickland, and a front kick.

Du Plessis spins but doesn’t follow up with a strike. Hard body kick by the challenger, however.

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 06:07
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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Strickland, 32, has a pro record of 28-5 (11 KO/TKOs, 4 submissions, 13 decisions).

Du Plessis, 30, is 20-2 with 19 finishes (9 KO/TKOs, 10 submissions, 1 decision).

HERE WE GO!

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 06:04
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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Lots of boos for Du Plessis as he makes his walk. He looks confident and relaxed, though.

Rapper Drake has placed a £700,000 bet on Strickland to win tonight...

Here comes the champion. He looks a little nervous, but he looked terrified before producing an all-time great upset to beat Adesanya.

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:57
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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

And here’s Strickland recounting his brawl with Du Plessis, and even admitting to biting the South African:

UFC champion admits to biting challenger in ringside brawl

Du Plessis had used Strickland’s childhood trauma as a source of trash talk just one day earlier

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:55
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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Strickland had some pretty choice words for women’s MMA and the LGBTQ community this week.

Here’s what he had to say, in a moment that drew a lot of criticism:

Sean Strickland launches derisive attack on women’s MMA ahead of UFC 297

The men’s middleweight champion also confronted a journalist over his views on the LGBTQ community

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:54
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UFC 297 LIVE: Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Time for the main event. Sean Strickland defends the middleweight title against Dricus Du Plessis.

Strickland won the middleweight title with a seismic upset of Israel Adesanya in September, and now the controversial American makes his first defence of the belt. Meanwhile, South Africa’s Du Plessis enters the main event on the back of a surprise TKO of ex-champion Robert Whittaker in July.

Strickland and Du Plessis have fought each other before, in a sense, having brawled in the crowd at UFC 296 in December, and fans are expecting a scrappy contest this evening.

This one could be wild.

Sean Strickland (left) and UFC middleweight title challenger Dricus Du Plessis (AP)
Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:52
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UFC 297 LIVE: Raquel Pennington vs Mayra Bueno Silva

Pennington says it’s “surreal” to be standing there with the belt around her waist.

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:46
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UFC 297 LIVE: Raquel Pennington vs Mayra Bueno Silva

Raquel Pennington def. Mayra Bueno Silva via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-45).

The title is vacant no longer! Pennington is a champion on her second attempt!

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:45
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UFC 297 LIVE: Raquel Pennington vs Mayra Bueno Silva

Round five

Pennington eventually gives up on the choke and throws some more punches.

She stands, and Silva is just lying on her back, doing nothing, with her hands behind her head.

The buzzer sounds. An awful visual on which to end the fight for Silva.

Alex Pattle21 January 2024 05:42

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