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UFC 297: Strickland vs. du Plessis Staff Picks

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MMASucka staff picks are locked in for the night of combat ahead.

UFC 297 is set to take place later tonight, January 20th from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, coming as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s seventh event from the venue and providence capital since UFC 129 in April of 2011 and the first in over five years; lastly, UFC 231 in December of 2018. Early preliminaries kick off at 6:30pm ET (3:30pm PT) on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass followed by the regular preliminary card at 8:00pm ET (5:00pm PT) on ESPN+, ESPN, and ESPN News. Pay-per-view action takes place at 10:00pm ET (7:00pm PT) available for purchase through ESPN+.

Stay locked in here at MMASucka for results from UFC 297: Strickland vs. du Plessis.

FIGHT ACTION

Sean Strickland and Dricus du Plessis will put on a show for fans as the two meet in a main event fight for the UFC Middleweight Championship.

Current divisional king and former four-time defending King of the Cage (KOTC) Middleweight Champion Strickland claimed gold in September of last year with his “Performance of the Night” unanimous decision over Israel Adesanya. The win came as his 28th professional in his 20th fight with the promotion ending what was a successful year with three consecutive victories including a five-round decision over Nassourdine Imavov and a second-round knockout of Abusupiyan Magomedov. Strickland’s opponent, South Africa’s du Plessis, has quickly rose to stardom after tenures competing for and becoming champion in both his home country’s Extreme Fighting Championships (EFC) and Poland’s Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW). His six octagon bouts have seen five finishes with three consecutive stoppages over Darren Till, Derek Brunson, and, most recently, former divisional title holder Robert Whittaker.

The Women’s Bantamweight Championship awaits the victor of the co-main event between Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva. The Ultimate Fighter 18 semifinalist and former title challenger Pennington has amassed five straight wins since June of 2020 as she makes her 17th UFC appearance. American Top Team’s Bueno Silva returns following a NSAC suspension that overturned her July of 2023 submission over Holly Holm; a win that originally saw four consecutive hand raises since returning to the division.

Welterweight veteran Neil Magny looks to avoid two straight losses as he battles 2021 Contender Series contract winner and Ontario’s own Mike Malott.

Two additional fights compose the pay-per-view ahead. Chris Curtis and Marc-Andre Barriault will clash in the middleweight division, and top-ranked contenders Arnold Allen and Movsar Evloev open the main card portion at featherweight.

Find our staff picks and predictions for UFC 297: Strickland vs. du Plessis further below.

2024 STAFF PICKS

MMASucka staff picks are composed of four of the world’s leading mixed martial arts organization: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the Professional Fighters League (PFL MMA), ONE Championship (ONE FC), and Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS).

  • UFC picks will compose main card fights ranging from four to six matchups per event.
  • PFL MMA picks are to be determined as card structures will likely change following last year’s merger with Bellator MMA.
  • ONE FC and DWCS picks will feature all MMA fights from the event with a minimum three matchups.

The individual who picks the most victorious fighters by the end of 2024 will have a choice between receiving a custom-made championship belt from ProAmBelts or a detailed chain from Championship Chains. Staff picks in 2023 was won by Ben Jamieson with a record of 300-148.

See our UFC 297: Strickland vs. du Plessis picks below.


RECORDS AFTER UFC VEGAS 84:

1T. Frazer Krohn: 8-1
1T. Julio Monteros Jr.: 8-1
3T. Wesley Riddle: 7-2
3T. Michael DeSantis: 7-2
3T. Nate Freeman: 7-2
6T. Jeremy Brand: 6-3
6T. Andrew Benjamin: 6-3
8. Casey Cooper: 4-5

*Note – not all staff pick for every event*


Arnold Allen (19-2), +154
vs.
Movsar Evloev (17-0), -185

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION
– 145 LBS – 65.8 KG –

Jeremy Brand: Allen via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Evloev via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Allen via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: Evloev via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Evloev via Split Decision
Lukas DeWitt: Allen via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Allen: 3
Staff picking Evloev: 3


Chris Curtis (30-10), -185
vs.
Marc-Andre Barriault (16-6, 1 NC), +154

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION
– 185 LBS – 83.9 KG –

Jeremy Brand: Curtis via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Curtis via Split Decision
Michael DeSantis: Curtis via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Curtis via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Curtis via Round 2 TKO
Lukas DeWitt: Curtis via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Curtis: 6
Staff picking Barriault: 0


Neil Magny (28-12), +295
vs.
Mike Malott (10-1-1), -375

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION
– 170 LBS – 77.1 KG –

Jeremy Brand: Malott via Round 2 TKO
Wesley Riddle: Malott via Round 1 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Malott via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Malott via Round 2 TKO
Nate Freeman: Malott via Round 2 TKO
Lukas DeWitt: Malott via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking Magny: 0
Staff picking Malott: 6


Raquel Pennington (15-9), +136
vs.
Mayra Bueno Silva (10-2-1), -162

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISIONAL TITLE
– CO-MAIN EVENT –

– 145 LBS – 61.2 KG –

Jeremy Brand: Pennington via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Bueno Silva via Round 2 SUB
Michael DeSantis: Bueno Silva via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Pennington via Unanimous Decision
Nate Freeman: Bueno Silva via Unanimous Decision
Lukas DeWitt: Bueno Silva via Round 3 SUB

Staff picking Pennington: 2
Staff picking Bueno Silva: 4


Sean Strickland (28-5), -110
vs.
Dricus du Plessis (20-2), -110

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISIONAL TITLE
– MAIN EVENT –
– 185 LBS – 83.9 KG –

Jeremy Brand: Strickland via Unanimous Decision
Wesley Riddle: Strickland via Round 3 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Strickland via Unanimous Decision
Frazer Krohn: du Plessis via Round 3 TKO
Nate Freeman: Strickland via Split Decision
Lukas DeWitt: Strickland via Unanimous Decision

Staff picking Strickland: 5
Staff picking du Plessis: 1

UFC 297 FEATURED IMAGE:

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Wesley Riddle is a 29-year-old writer residing in Raleigh, North Carolina and from Harrisonburg, Virginia. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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