Sean Strickland vs Dricus du Plessis – UFC 297: Start time, undercard results and


 

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Follow Mail Sport’s live blog for the latest updates as Sean Strickland defends his Middleweight Championship against Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297.

MAGNY WINS BY TKO

Incredible! What a comeback win for Magny!

Malott vs Magny – Dominant by the Canadian

Malott is showing why he’s such a coming force. He takes Magny down twice and the second occasion sweeps right into mount before finishing the round with some heavy elbows. Magny does well to deny him clear winning chances but needs a finish of his own to win here.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: (R-L) Mike Malott kicks Neil Magny in a welterweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Malott vs Magny – Close opener

Not a huge amount of action in the first and the fans chanting ‘f*** you Magny’ was the only thing of significance. Malott puts some money in the bank with chopping low kicks, like Ian Garry did against the veteran and those were probably enough to win the round.

Mike Malott watch

Mike Malott is an absolute specimin. He’s basically a test tube MMA fighter and the Canadian men are 0-6 tonight so the crowd need a win from him. He’s won his first three fights in the UFC and we’ll know more about his ability if he can come through Neil Magny. He’s seen as a gatekeeper and this should be a real challenge.

It was grim from Strickland this week

His fans will back him to the hilt but it was really disappointing to see Strickland’s venemous attack on a journalist this week and homophobic, anti-trans and sexist comments. Those aren’t exactly new but as champion you felt he might have used the chance not to spread bile.

30-27, 28-29, 30-27 – Curtis wins!

Curtis: ‘He’s got so much better, in and out, I expected a tough fight. Man, that was fun, I’m sorry we didn’t die, we’ll try harder next time.’

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: (R-L) Marc-Andre Barriault of Canada punches Chris Curtis in a middleweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: (R-L) Chris Curtis elbows Marc-Andre Barriault of Canada in a middleweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

And a superb third!

Finally the fight came alive and it really felt as though both men were responding to the crowd’s discontent. Curtis finished strong and Barriault started the better, with uppercuts and elbows galore from the combatants. The stats say they were withing five significant strikes of each other.

Snoozefest so far

A few boos ring out and you can understand why. This feels like a sparring session at the moment with both men exchanging, almost taking it in turns and refusing to take any kind of risk to get ahead, really tough to score heading into the final five minutes.

A dozy first round

Curtis is happy to use the opening round to check out his opponent and make reads for the 10 minutes to follow. Neither man is particularly keen on being the agressor and Barriault seemed to be throwing with 70 percent power, though he did land one nice body kick. More action in the second please.

The smile of a Hall of Famer

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: Frankie Edgar reacts after the announcement of his UFC Hall of Fame induction in the class of 2024 during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Next up – Chris Curtis vs Marc Andre Barriault

A good old fashioned USA vs Canada matchup now. Curtis, who is a team-mate and best friend of Strickland is looking to rise up the middleweight rankings in enemy territory, with the crowd backing their man Barriault 100 percent.

Breaking: Frankie Edgar inducted to Hall of Fame

dToronto’s crowd is treated to a lovely highlights package tribute to Edgar, who watches on with a grin from his seat. The voiceover says his legacy was cemented by the three wins over a prime BJ Penn and it’s hard to disagree with that. Well deserved.

How did Evloev escape this?

Allen had this one in super tight and Evloev must have been worried for a moment there that he’d snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. He basically rotated a full 360 to force his head out.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: (L-R) Arnold Allen of England works for a submission against Movsar Evloev of Russia in a featherweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

29-28 unanimous decision

Allen comes up short. Evloev says: ‘Arnold is a good fighter, tough you know, I feel like I can fight with anyone in my division now. Let’s see who wins between Alex Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria and I’m ready to fight the winner of that. 18-0 is no joke. Everybody is waiting for finishes but thanks God for the win.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: (R-L) Movsar Evloev of Russia kicks Arnold Allen of England in a featherweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Great final round!

Looks like 18-0 for Evloev. Allen is given a hard warning by Marc Goddard for knees to the head when Evloev had his hand on the mat, it was close but the right call. Allen knows he has to chase the KO and gets a bit loose. He threatened a finish of his own with a ninja choke but the Russian wrenched himself out and has clearly done enough to win this one as we head to the scorecards.

Allen rocked!

‘Almighty’ is just surviving right now after being dropped to a knee briefly and cut badly beneath his eye. He managed to get back to his feet from another takedown but isn’t landing much of his own offence and surprisingly is being caught by the Russian. He needs a big stoppage to win it here.

Evloev takes the opener

Solid start for Allen and he looks extremely light on his feet and confident, landing a couple of nice body shots. But the Russian has his own success with the jab and doesn’t sustain any serious damage. He takes the Brit down towards the end of the round but he manages to scramble well, not enough to win the round, which was close, but could be a sign of things to come.

Can Arnold bounce back?

This is one of the most intriguing match-ups on the entire card. Allen has strutted out to ‘We Will Rock You’, which always goes down an absolute treat. Second time I’ve heard that today after watching Knight’s Tale earlier.

Allen is out to show his game is well rounded against a wrestling supremo, having fought strikers in his recent bouts. An impressive display here puts him right back in the mix for the featherweight title shot.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: Arnold Allen of England has his hands wrapped prior to his fight during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

MAIN CARD TIME

Here we go! Strickland and Du Plessis appeared on the huge screens inside the arena and were given a massive pop from the crowd. Canadians are out in force for this one and relishing the start of the main card. The pre-lims didn’t exactly catch fire but Arnold Allen should hopefully get them off their feet first up.

Game face on

Du Plessis has had an air of confidence around him all week, as if to say Strickland isn’t on his level. There have been times when the South African’s cardio has looked suspect and his striking clumsy but he’s mightily effective and yet to be beaten in the UFC.

Arnold is back tonight!

I spoke to Arnold Allen briefly this week ahead of his return to the octagon nine months after he fell short against Holloway. That defeat still rankles him but a win over the undefeated Evloev tonight would put him right back in the title conversation.

Chaos at the decision!

Absolutely bizarre, the crowd think Jordain has won the decision because it’s so loud in Toronto and Bruce Buffer’s call of Sean sounded like Charles, cue celebrations from the Canadian’s camp and the fans before Daniel Cormier had to sheepishly clear it up.

Strickland – the UFC’s most controversial fighter

The long list of life and career incident that will blow your mind about Sean Strickland is something that could only be found in MMA. He has endured severe childhood trauma which at least explains his behaviour sometimes without excusing it. Here’s a look inside his world.

Tavares sneaks it

Tavares missed weight by four pounds so gets some boos from the crowd as he takes a split decision. Sidy should have had it for my money but it was a close rematch between two guys who fought in the Contender Series when an early stoppage led to tonight’s clash.

Strickland in top shape

Strickland has not always looked the part of an elite level athlete but he’s clearly grafted extremely hard for this one. He knows huge fights are in his future and can cash in on PPV points with a bit of a sustained reign but faces a man in Du Plessis desperate to become the first UFC champ from South Africa.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 19: Sean Strickland is seen on stage during the UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in at Scotiabank Arena on January 19, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Good news for Du Plessis?

He does very occasionally get one right but is known for his curse and generally poor betting record. Anyhow, Drake is going big on Strickland tonight…

Bravo Robertson

Canada is a ‘lucky charm’ says Robertson after finishing off Viana in the second round of their contest having dominated for the duration. She’s elite on the ground and threatened a submission in the first before ending up on top again in the second to force the finish with strikes.

Here’s our exclusive with Sam this week

Sam spoke to Mail Sport’s James Cohen this week and has managed to back up his words with an impressive first-round submission win. Thw 27-year-old from Walford has a really bright future.

Patterson among early-prelim winners

Jimmy Flick started the show as the first fight of the night in Toronto, beating Malcolm Gordon by second-round submission and there were also wins for JasmineJasudavicius and England’s Sam Patterson, also by submission. Patterson had a nightmare debut last year with a really bad KO defeat so this win will feel extra sweet for him to restart his UFC career in earnest.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: Sam Patterson of England reacts after his submission victory against Yohan Lainesse of Canada in a welterweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: (L-R) Sam Patterson of England secures a submission against Yohan Lainesse of Canada in a welterweight bout during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

FULL FIGHT LIST

Check out who will be in action tonight below:

Sean Strickland (c) vs Dricus du Plessis, middleweight title

Mayra Bueno Silva vs Raquel Pennington, women’s bantamweight title

Mike Malott vs Neil Magny, welterweights

Chris Curtis vs Marc-Andre Barriault, middleweight

Movsar Evloev vs. Arnold Allen, featherweight

Brad Katona vs Garrett Armfield, bantamweight

Charles Jourdain vs Sean Woodson, featherweight

Serhiy Sidey vs. Ramon Taveras, bantamweight

Gillian Robertson vs. Polyana Viana, women’s strawweight

Yohan Lainesse vs Sam Patterson, welterweight

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs Priscila Cachoeira, women’s flyweight

Malcolm Gordon vs Jimmy Flick, flyweight

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: Jasmine Jasudavicius of Canada has her hands wrapped prior to her fight during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 20: Malcolm Gordon of Canada warms up prior to his fight during the UFC 297 event at Scotiabank Arena on January 20, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Welcome aboard fight fans

Good evening, morning or whatever it is where you are… we’re in for a treat tonight with the first major card of the year for the UFC, with the middleweight title on the line in Toronto, Canada.

Sean Strickland was in predictably feral form on the microphone this week and there will be plenty tuning in hoping to see him lose against Dricus du Plessis tonight. Was his incredible win over Israel Adesanya just a flash in the pan or is the new champ here to stay?

Keep it here as we bring you all the pre-lim action, build up to the main card and live updates throughout.

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JANUARY 19: (L-R) Opponents Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis of South Africa face off during the UFC 297 ceremonial weigh-in at Scotiabank Arena on January 19, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Key Updates

  • Frankie Edgar inducted to Hall of Fame

  • 29-28 unanimous decision





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