Dricus du Plessis became a new middleweight champion on Saturday, January 20, when he faced Sean Strickland at UFC 297. The pair battled it out in the main event live on pay-per-view from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada.
No. 2-ranked contender of South Africa dethroned reigning champion of the U.S. by split decision. After a close five-round battle, one scorecard was 48-47 for the champion, while two other 48-47 scorecards went to the challenger.
As a result, 30-year-old Dricus du Plessis (21-2) of Hatfield, South Africa became a new UFC middleweight champion. Post-win he called out former champion Israel Adesanya “to settle the score”.
Sean Strickland (28-6) lost the belt in his first defense. Post-fight the 32-year-old native of Anaheim, California called to “run it back”.
Du Plessis and Adesanya were expected to square off last year. The fight didn’t go ahead after du Plessis decided not to fight due to a leg injury. Adesanya instead fought Strickland, who claimed the title by unanimous decision.
Get UFC 297: Strickland vs du Plessis full card results.