UFC 297 odds, predictions: Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis
UFC 297 has had plenty of chaos thanks to ugly trash talk long before the fights get started in Ontario, Canada.
But that isn’t stopping the show from going on as Dricus Du Plessis steps up to fight the champion, Sean Strickland on Saturday night.
Du Plessis sat down with The Post’s Scott Fontana this week to discuss his upcoming bout, which sets up as an intriguing fight.
There aren’t many fun matchups throughout the UFC 297, though, as the remainder of the card would barely qualify as a noteworthy non-PPV fight night card.
But that’s what sports betting is for.
Here are a few entertaining bets and predictions ahead of UFC 297, with the prelims beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN and ESPN+ before switching to PPV at 10 p.m. ET.
3Sean Strickland makes weight at 185 pounds ahead of his title defense against Dricus du Plessis. Zuffa LLC via Getty Images## UFC 297 predictions and picks
Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis
It is not the title fight we expected, but the one we have on tap here at UFC 297.
Du Plessis comes into Saturday’s main event as a coin flip against the champion.
Strickland has made a career off dirty boxing and forward pressure as his cardio is some of the best in UFC history. But other than those traits and being tough, there’s not a whole lot about Strickland that sets him apart.
Important to note that this fight is in the larger octagon in Ontario. Not APEX. Harder to back Sean up. DDP needs to get immediate respect in this fight on the feet. Low leg kick a factor.Strickland also looks to be in best shape of his life. But DDP hits like a truck. Fun https://t.co/yMCfupEES2
— Erich Richter (@erichterrr) January 18, 2024Defensively, Strickland shells up with his hands high up while allowing opponents to hit him as he parries the strikes off his forearms.
That works well against boxers, but against kickboxers, he’s had a consistent issue. Du Plessis is an excellent kickboxer and his power is something to behold.
Du Plessis, despite being awkward, is the far more polished fighter in terms of striking and grappling.
The South African fighter will also be bigger when getting into the octagon, something that could play a factor if he can get Strickland on the back foot, which rarely happens to the champ but will be Du Plessis’ goal in there.
3Dricus du Plessis is a very well-rounded fighter. Getty ImagesStrickland doesn’t have the belief of bettors and oddsmakers; he’s been an underdog in three of his psst four fights.
Du Plessis having cardio concerns is not enough to fade him this evening. Back the very slight underdog at UFC 297, he’s worth betting up to -115 before you start looking for a live entry on him in the first round.
UFC 297 pick: Dricus Du Plessis (+100, BetMGM)
Neil Magny vs. Mike Malott
Mike Malott comes in as a massive -400 favorite over veteran Neil Magny in this one.
Magny has fought the division’s best, including Ian Garry, Gilbert Burns, Shavkat Rakhmonov, and many more throughout his career. At this point, it’s more than fair to call him the gatekeeper of the middleweight division a fighter that separates contenders from pretenders.
3Nail Magny is 6-foot-3 and huge for the weight class. Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesMalott comes in as an excellent grappler, and oddsmakers suggest that Magny will get submitted rather quickly (+100 odds), but there should be some caution with that level of grappling dominance against Magny.
Digging through some old film, Malott, 22 at the time, was TKO’d by Hakeem Dawodu in 2014 at the World Series of Fighting.
Dawodu is 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds and beat Malott up when put on his back foot. Look for Magny, who is 6-3, to do that here as a high cardio striker.
Malott has excellent front kicks to push his opponent back to create space, and the power in his punches is clearly legitimate.
But his cardio hasn’t really been tested in the UFC against top competition. Malott is -400 for a reason and it’s not reasonable to expect Magny to win outright here against a far superior and younger athlete.
When you can bet an underdog like Magny against the spread at +3.5, it’s more than reasonable.
Magny loses 30-27, but the bet is still a win at +195 on DraftKings.
UFC 297 pick: Magny +3.5 (+195, DraftKings)
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