UFC 297 Strickland vs. Du Plessis Main Card Best Bets

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Dricus Du Plessis Celebrates at UFC 290 
Dricus Du Plessis celebrates after defeating Robert Whittaker during UFC 290. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to our screens this Saturday for the first numbered PPV event of 2024, and we could witness a slugfest for the ages as Sean Strickland defends his middleweight championship against Dricus Du Plessis in the evening’s main event.

The vacated women’s bantamweight title is up for grabs when Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva exchange leather in the co-main event, ensuring this weekend’s fight card will bring chaos to the octagon.

Let’s waste no more time and dive into the betting odds and find the most noteworthy picks for the UFC 297 main and co-main event.

Picks Summary

  • Dricus Du Plessis ML (+110) at Caesars Sportsbook
  • Mayra Bueno Silva ML (-170) at Bet365

Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis

UFC 297 Middleweight Championship Main Event Bout

Saturday, January 20, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Scotiabank Arena

Sean Strickland

Following his stunning victory in Sydney in September, Sean Strickland will defend his middleweight championship against South African contender Dricus Du Plessis for the first time.

Strickland achieved three victories in 2023, with his most significant triumph being his UFC 293 victory over Israel Adesanya. The performance stands out for its noteworthy and remarkable nature, as it was not a close victory or a situation where the opponent was caught off guard. Strickland knocked down the champion at the beginning of the bout and maintained a consistent level of aggression throughout, preventing Adesanya from gaining momentum. As a result, Strickland dominated throughout the full 25 minutes and secured the win by winning all the scorecards.

  • Sean Strickland Pro MMA Record: 25-5-0
  • Sean Strickland KOs: 11
  • Sean Strickland Submissions: 4

Dricus Du Plessis

Had it not been for Strickland’s remarkable achievements in Australia, Du Plessis’ victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 may have been considered the most significant surprise of the year.

Although he had triumphed in all of his initial five UFC bouts and had a winning streak of seven matches, it was widely anticipated that “Stillknocks” would meet the same fate as others who had attempted to surpass the former champion and earn a shot at the title. However, Du Plessis defied expectations by overpowering Whittaker and securing a victory in the second round, solidifying his position as the top contender.

  • Du Plessis Pro MMA Record: 20-2-0
  • Du Plessis KOs: 9
  • Du Plessis Submissions: 10

Strickland vs. Du Plessis: Fight Tape Analysis

Since 2020, when he returned to 185 pounds, ‘Tarzan’ has performed admirably. With two defeats to Alex Pereira and Jared Cannonier, he has secured victories in eight of ten bouts. Strickland’s gameplan never changes; he keeps the opposition at the end of his jab behind a Philly-shell boxing style in most of his victories, interspersing the occasional takedown for good measure.

Du Plessis, as opposed to Strickland’s record, which was burdened with decisions, is a certified assassin. Not only is ‘Stillknocks’ undefeated with a 6-0 record in the UFC, but he has also submitted five of his opponents, with only the formidable Brad Tavares enduring the distance.

Furthermore, the South African has demonstrated proficiency in every domain. He defeated Darren Till on the ground and managed to outmaneuver the perilous Derek Brunson on the mat, while his other victories were claimed due to his lightning-fast strikes.

UFC 297 Main Event Odds & Prediction

Although du Plessis may not possess the most technical abilities as a striker, his unorthodox approach and formidable strength have presented an insurmountable challenge. Even at middleweight, Whittaker, who had only ever been defeated by Adesanya, could not contend with his strength.

Indeed, although he ran through Adesanya, including a knockdown, Strickland is not the most effective finisher; therefore, du Plessis won’t fear the incoming power strikes unless he exhausts himself early on.

Furthermore, Strickland seems sensitive to ‘Stillknocks’s’ unsavory garbage talk; therefore, it is highly probable that he enters the room too aggressively and exposes himself.

Given the foregoing, du Plessis at plus-money is the betting prediction.

UFC Pick: Dricus Du Plessis ML (+110) [1u returns 1.10u profit] at Caesars Sportsbook (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review)

Raquel Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno Silva

UFC 297 Women’s Bantamweight Title Co-Main Event Bout

Saturday, January 20, 2024 – 06:30 PM ET at Scotiabank Arena

Raquel Pennington

Pennington, aged 35, comes with a record of five consecutive wins, with her most recent triumph occurring in January against Ketlen Vieira.

In 2023, she took a break to celebrate the arrival of her first child with her wife, UFC strawweight Tecia Torres. She was also the substitute fighter for Nunes’ previous fight at UFC 289 in Vancouver. However, she must now demonstrate her readiness and lack of octagon rust when she enters the Octagon this weekend.

  • Pennington MMA Record: 15-8-0
  • Pennington KOs: 1
  • Pennington Submissions: 4

Mayra Bueno Silva

Bueno Silva has been performing exceptionally well after transitioning to the bantamweight weight class in the spring of 2022.

After three consecutive victories, she was allowed to compete against former champion Holly Holm in the main event. However, the win by submission in the second round was declared invalid due to the Brazilian testing positive for ADHD medication during the pre-fight screening. Nevertheless, the image of “Sheetara” successfully defeating Holm and solidifying her credibility as a contender for the title still remains.

  • Bueno Silva Pro MMA Record: 10-2-1
  • Bueno Silva KOs: 1
  • Bueno Silva Submissions: 7

Pennington vs. Silva: Fight Tape Analysis

Pennington is presently on a five-fight winning run. Although more skilled athletes, especially those who excel in striking, might occasionally outperform her, her physical stature, resilience, and general proficiency enable her to frequently secure victories even when faced with adversity.

Formerly classified as a flyweight, Silva now presents a more complex challenge to evaluate. She has achieved six victories in the octagon since her debut in 2018, demonstrating expertise in submission techniques. Nevertheless, she has also encountered unsatisfactory outcomes, including a defeat against Manon Fiorot and a stalemate with Montana De La Rosa.

UFC 297 Co-Main Event Odds & Prediction

Bueno Silva is undeniably a greater innate athlete compared to ‘Rocky’. Nevertheless, ‘Sheetara’ will be surrendering a significant amount of physical stature – it is quite improbable for Pennington to achieve 125 pounds. Additionally, she possesses a substantial amount of expertise.

This bout is unlikely to be a technical masterpiece, but considering Pennington’s layoff and Bueno Silva’s dominance over Holm, I prefer the latter to walk out victorious. The bullying style that ‘Rocky’ has been able to rely on won’t likely surface as the Brazilian aggression and clear grappling/clinch/BJJ advantage will see her become the next bantamweight queen with a favorable style of opponent in front of her.

UFC Pick: Bueno Silva ML (-170) [1.70u returns 1u profit] at Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review)

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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