Updated January 7, 2024By Chris Boline
What: The main event contests at UFC 297
Who: UFC Men’s Middleweight Championship fight: Sean Strickland (c) vs. Dricus du Plessis & UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship fight: Raquel Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
When: Saturday, January 20, 2024
Where: Scotiabank Arena in Ontario, Canada
In what should be an excellent showcase, the UFC returns to Canada for its first big event of 2024 with UFC 297 live from the Scotiabank Arena. Kicking off your UFC 297 betting rundown, the main event of this card features the UFC Middleweight Championship on the line as current champion Sean Strickland takes on former KSW Welterweight Champion Dricus du Plessis. The former is coming off a spectacular upset win over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293 while Du Plessis has a fantastic overall MMA record of 20-2. In the other top bout of the evening, Raquel Pennington takes on Mayra Bueno Silva for the vacant UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. This title was vacated when former champion Amanda Nunes announced her retirement immediately after defending her title at UFC 289.
For this article, SBS will be going over what to look for from each fighter, a predicted winner in each matchup, and also more notes about UFC 297 betting.
UFC 297 Main Event BoutsThe Pick
Dricus du Plessis vs. Sean Strickland (c)Strickland-125-125-125Raquel Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno SilvaBueno Silva-155-155-155
UFC Men’s Middleweight Championship overview: Sean Strickland (c) vs. Dricus du Plessis
Fighter Spotlight: Sean Strickland
Ranked as the No. 7 overall fighter in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings, Strickland is soaring high after his sensational win over Adesanya. He is a former King of the Cage Middleweight Champion and has put together an impressive MMA record of 28-5 and is coming off back-to-back Performance of the Night outings. In his title win, the California native was able to score a unanimous victory over the imposing “Stylebender.” Per various outlets, Strickland is distinguished for his defensive striking which is evident in the UFC’s official Significant Strike Defense statistic. This is where he boasts a 65.4% defense rate which, when last measured, was the highest among active fighters in the middleweight division. Moreover, Strickland has been known to apply his wrestling defensively to great effect, registering a high takedown defense statistic in securing the top position.
Fighter Spotlight: Dricus du Plessis
In addition to being a former KSW Welterweight Champion, Du Plessis is a two-time EFC Middleweight and former EFC Welterweight Champion. Since making his UFC debut back in October 2020, he has been on a tear in the promotion, scoring six consecutive wins and notching an undefeated record of 6-0 in the promotion. His most recent victory came at UFC 290 in a spectacular second-round TKO of Robert Whittaker. This bout was a UFC Middleweight Championship eliminator and was a fantastic match that scored Du Plessis Performance of the Night honors. A dangerous combatant, he has accrued nine knockouts and 10 submission wins in his career and poses a strong threat to Strickland.
Prediction: A toss-up battle, take the champion Strickland to retain here in what should be a great battle.
Sean SticklandTo win vs. Dricus du Plessis
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship contest breakdown: Raquel Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Fighter Spotlight: Raquel Pennington
Recognized as the No. 2 fighter in the UFC women’s bantamweight rankings, Pennington is aiming for her first-ever UFC Championship in this title bout against Bueno Silva. She last challenged for the title back at UFC 224 in May 2018 in a losing effort against Nunes (TKO, punches). Now that the Brazilian is retired, this could be the Coloradoan’s best chance to become a UFC title holder. With an overall record of 15-8, she holds multiple UFC records, including the most bouts in UFC Women’s Bantamweight division history, the most significant strikes landed in the division (922), and also most decision wins in the division (nine). Since losing to Holly Holm at UFC 246, she has strung together five consecutive wins en route to this championship showdown with Bueno Silva.
Fighter Spotlight: Mayra Bueno Silva
At 32 years of age, Bueno Silva has accrued a mark of 10-2 in her MMA career and has been a tough combatant as of late, scoring three consecutive wins before her no-contest outing against Holly Holm last July. While this matchup was noted as a Performance of the Night showing for Bueno Silva, it was later overturned after she tested positive ritalinic acid. Regardless, this would have been four wins in a row for the Brazilian, with three of those bouts being Performance of the Night/Fight of the Night showcases. With seven submission wins in her career, she is deadly when she gets on the ground.
Prediction: Another great contest, take Bueno Silva to win here given her more consistent track record and slight age advantage.
Mayra Bueno SilvaTo win vs. Raquel Pennington
Even more notes and news for your UFC 297 bets
After you are all dialed in regarding the latest information and updates for your UFC 297 bets, make sure to check out the wide variety of resources available to you only at SBS. Of course, if you are looking to make the best UFC 297 bets and beyond, check out our UFC betting sites guide which covers all of the latest UFC betting markets. Moreover, for those on the go, the best betting apps breakdown is an excellent resource for mobile betting sites and making sure you are on top of your UFC 297 picks. Finally, round out your UFC 297 betting experience with the VIP sports betting sites rundown which goes over the perks and costs of VIP sports betting and how it might make sense for you.
About the Author
As a devout aficionado of sports, Chris Boline has carved a career within the athletic realm. A skilled scribe, he boasts a decade-long portfolio that encompasses coverage of the NBA G League, the Los Angeles Chargers, football in the Mountain West Conference, and basketball.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Chris is deeply invested in his community and dedicates his leisure hours to serving on boards, collaborating with community organizations, and cherishing the company of loved ones.
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