UFC 297 is set to be the inaugural pay-per-view event of 2024 for the world’s biggest MMA promotion. The main event of this exciting fight night will showcase a middleweight title clash between Sean Strickland and Dricus du Plessis. The event is scheduled for January 20, 2024.
Strickland, having secured the championship with a commanding victory over Israel Adesanya, will defend his title for the first time against top contender du Plessis. The latter emerged victorious against Robert Whittaker in what seemed to be a title eliminator at UFC 290, delivering a Fight of the Night-worthy performance. Subsequently, he was regarded as the impending challenger for Adesanya’s title.
Although Adesanya and Du Plessis were initially slated to square off at UFC 293, the South African declined the opportunity, citing an undisclosed injury. However, Sean Strickland grabbed the chance with open hands and made the most of it.
Now, Du Plessis might have missed out on fighting at UFC 293; he was closely following every step of his rival Adesanya leading up to the fight. In a recent interview with Submission Radio, DDP expressed that he could notice that something was off with Israel Adesanya right away, even before the fight had started.
“I woke up and I sat there, and as he walked out in red shorts, I just thought this was weird, and he’s demeanor how he walked out,” said Du Plessis. ‘Stillknocks‘ added that he had been studying Adesanya in the latter’s interviews and fights, and this was a completely different version of the former middleweight champion at UFC 293.
Dricus du Plessis feels he could have ‘manhandled’ Israel Adesanya
In the interview with Submission Radio, Dricus du Plessis was asked about his toughest challenge in the UFC middleweight division. Being asked to choose between the former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and the new champion Sean Strickland, the South African fighter did not think twice before saying that he would ‘manhandle’ Israel Adesanya.
Israel Adesanya experienced his second middleweight loss when he was defeated by Sean Strickland at UFC 293 earlier this year—an outcome that caught many by surprise. The general expectation was that ‘The Last Stylebender‘ would control the striking exchanges, with Strickland needing a grappling-oriented strategy for success.
However, after an impressive first-round knockdown of Adesanya, Sean Strickland went on to dominate the entire fight, securing a unanimous decision victory. A month following this setback, Adesanya announced a hiatus from competition, with his busy schedule likely playing a role in his decision.