Du Plessis Earns 185-Pound Title With Razor Thin Decision Over Strickland At UFC 297, Urges Adesanya To Make A Comeback

Following an extremely technical stand up match with Sean Strickland, Dricus Du Plessis has been crowned as the new middleweight champion at UFC 297.

While betting odds do not often dictate the way a fight will go, the result of the main event at UFC 297: Strickland vs. Du Plessis lived up to the nature of the pick’em labeled bout, given the level of competitiveness.

But in the end, despite Strickland exercising distance management behind a piston like jab, the newly crowned South African champion managed to mix in a diverse mixture of strikes alongside multiple successfully secured takedowns.

Throughout the match, due to the hammering jab of Strickland, Du Plessis’ left eye became significantly damaged, and by round three it was clearly affecting his vision. But to settle the score with regard to damage, Du Plessis landed a well-placed straight right that inflicted a laceration near the left eye of Strickland in the beginning half of the fourth.

Now branded with a Crimson Mask, Strickland continued to strike with the challenger, but it was clear that the way he approached this fight was massively different from his last versus Israel Adesanya. Instead of marching forward and heavy on the lead foot, like we are used to seeing from the now former middleweight champion, Strickland seemed much more timid in his attacks, resulting in him essentially being walked down by Du Plessis.

Strickland sensed urgency near the end of the fight and began to let go of many hard shots that were finding a home on his opponent. But ultimately it was not enough to secure the match in the eyes of the judges, and Du Plessis was awarded the split decision victory.

After receiving the belt from Dana White, Du Plessis took his moment on the mic to call out long-time 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya. After losing the belt to Strickland, Adesanya chose to take some time away from the fight game, but many speculate that following the callout from Du Plessis we could see him return to action given the pair’s spotted history.

Through this bout, not only has Dricus Du Plessis achieved his goal of the UFC belt, but he has also made history as UFC’s first South African champion. There is already chatter of him possibly making a quick turnaround to defend his title at UFC 300 in April, but only time will tell if that will be a viable possibility.

Official Result: Dricus Du Plessis def. Sean Strickland via Decision (Split) – 48-47, 47-48, 48-47

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