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Posted 2024-01-21 08:30:49  
South African Dricus wins UFC World Crown

The middleweight division witnessed a seismic shift as Dricus du Plessis claimed the championship with a narrow split decision victory over Sean Strickland at UFC 297's main event in Toronto. Du Plessis, becoming the fourth fighter in the last 15 months to hold the title, engaged in a war with Strickland at Scotiabank Arena. Strickland showcased a formidable jab, nearly closing du Plessis' left eye, while the South African retaliated by opening a significant gash under Strickland's left late in the fight.

In the fight game, there's a longstanding adage that deems a fighter not truly a champion until they successfully defend their title. By this standard, Sean Strickland fell just short of solidifying his championship credentials, succumbing to a split decision loss to Dricus du Plessis at UFC 297's main event. Despite the setback, Strickland delivered an impressive performance in front of an energetic crowd in Toronto.

The bout unfolded with Strickland strategically employing kicks and a solid jab, forcing du Plessis to navigate challenging waters to unleash his potent strikes. Du Plessis managed to secure a takedown in the opening round but couldn't capitalize on the position, leading to the fight returning to the feet where Strickland demonstrated more effective and efficient striking.

Throughout the contest, Strickland predominantly relied on his jab, creating obstacles for du Plessis to overcome to get within striking range. Du Plessis, in turn, adjusted his approach by targeting the body, unleashing looping punches, and attempting occasional takedowns. One of these overhand shots inflicted a cut over Strickland's right eye, while Strickland's consistent jab caused significant swelling over du Plessis' left eye.

The clash evolved into a duel between Strickland's jab and occasional right hand against du Plessis' powerful shots and relentless pressure. As the minutes passed, du Plessis, in his first fight beyond three rounds, saw his right hand connecting more frequently, and his takedowns finding success. Despite Strickland avoiding prolonged ground time, significant cuts and blood flowing into his left eye ultimately swayed the judges in favor of du Plessis.

In the aftermath, du Plessis now faces a cadre of challengers eager to seize the opportunity.

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