Prediction for the fight Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Until September 2023, no one suspected that a certain Sean Strickland, who had lost two of his two fights the year before, would simply walk into the cage and destroy “The Last Stylebender.” Now, as a champion, the American will defend the honor of his country in a fight with the South African, Dricus Du Plessis, who no less sensationally broke into the elite of the middle division. Their couple will head the first numbered tournament of 2024 - UFC 297 and, on January 21, the fate of the belt, which has been changing hands every now and then, will be decided.

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Sean Strickland

Not long ago, Sean was number 5 in the middleweight, and now he is a champion and number 8 in the P4P rankings. This is a brown belt BJJ master, winner of three bonuses for the best performances in UFC tournaments, and also a former KOTC champion, from where he left undefeated, with five title defenses. Strickland has experience fighting at both 77 kg and 88.5, so the size of his opponents does not matter much to him.


Sean’s trick is “smooth pressing”, high workrate and decent endurance. He is extremely inconvenient because of his way of working his body, avoiding a blow, and then immediately catching his opponent with counterattacks. What’s interesting is that the champion fights as if he were number 2, but at the same time, he always controls the space in the cage. In addition, Strickland is good at takedowns and defending against them, but he rarely resorts to wrestling.


The real scourge of Tarzan is its game plan. Even when the corner screams to do one thing, he moves, hits and acts the same in all fights. Yes, it’s difficult to hit, but due to the lack of footwork, strikers of a higher quality still do their job. Otherwise, a certain sports stupor periodically made Sean an absolutely thoughtless fighter, visually middle class.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Strickland is 32 years old, and despite the score 3:2 in his last five fights, he managed to beat more than worthy opponents. Alex Pereira and Cannonier turned out to be better than the American, but Imavov, Magomedov, as well as Adesanya, lost to him, unable to find the key to his lock. Sean is experiencing his prime, and his personal history of rivalry with Du Plessis can spur him on to do his best in the gym. Moreover, they had already managed to warm up a little by fighting in the audience hall.

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

Dricus Du Plessis

Drikus successfully climbed to the 2nd line of the rating table. He is a former Extreme FC champion in the welterweight and middleweight divisions, a champion of the Polish promotion KSW, as well as a world junior kickboxing champion - WAKO version. By the way, he has a second degree black belt in this discipline, but at the same time, Du Plessis also practiced judo, from where he transferred some of his groundwork skills.


Drikus prefers to fight number one, and due to knockout power, an excellent base of kicks, as well as high performance, he creates a lot of inconvenience even for those who are famous for their defense. By the way, he is also doing great with this, and for those who are not friends with wrestling, the South African is ready to offer an impressive base of submissions - he is good with BJJ.


Stillknocks' flaw was and remains endurance - a round or a half of intense work divides its performance by three. And if it weren’t for the heavy blow, he would have had great difficulties in holding positions, as well as in the clinch, especially since before Whittaker, Drikus had the opportunity to show his skills against opponents of a lower level.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Just a week before UFC 297, Du Plessis will celebrate his 30th birthday. He is riding an 8-fight win streak that includes Derren Till, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson and Robert Whittaker. The athlete has not lost since 2018, and now he has an excellent chance to make his way to the championship throne, through the leader of the division, who is far from the most intimidating in terms of skills. In this case, there will also be motivation to defeat the opponent due to conflict, so we are waiting for the best version of Drikus in the cage.

Comparative analysis

In anthropometry, the guys have complete parity, which cannot be said about physical strength - here Du Plessis is on horseback, which Sean will have to cover with his originality and the perpetual motion machine in his chest. In terms of cardio, Drikus will never surpass the champion, and given that they will have to fight for 5 rounds, and the challenger has never covered such a distance, it is in his best interests to score a knockout, preferably before the start of the championship sections of total under (3.5) 1.76.

If he fails to shake his opponent on the ground, his submission game will still be there, but Strickland is powerful enough to at least stand up if the takedown defense misfires. In parallel to this, Sean will have only one path to Victoria 1.74 – press carefully, counter, do not aggravate and set a high pace. Even if he is taken away, after surviving a couple of rounds of pressure from Drikus, “Tarzan’s” hands will be untied.

If we take into account only skills, then the contender looks much more interesting, and one hit will be enough for him to take the title. But we're talking about a guy who went through 25 minutes with Adesanya and Adesanya couldn't do anything to him. Perhaps Du Plessis is a phenomenon and will easily get close to the belt bearer, however, with the balance of forces 60 to 40, turning to the opposition of both, Strickland has a slightly better chance.

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis Prediction

If Drikus does not do anything with his cardio, then he will definitely face an early defeat. However, if he does his job, then endurance will not matter. There is a possibility that both will escalate due to trash talk and skirmishes that have already taken place, therefore, it is not worth counting on all 5 rounds, with such and such a number of “ifs”.

Perhaps the safest option, with a fairly good odds: total over (1.5) in rounds - for 1.59, because reconnaissance and determining the distance of the fight will take some time. A more risky, but in terms of odds, an interesting option: total under (3.5) in rounds - for 1.76, because by the middle of the 4th segment, Du Plessis will either knock out Strickland or be left without fuel. I wouldn’t choose a winner here, since both are still specimens capable of showing the worst performance while being in the best shape. Install the 1xbet app and place a bet on the favorite!

Prediction: total over (1.5) by rounds / total under (3.5) by rounds

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