UFC 297: Strickland vs. du Plessis Main Card Betting Preview

Alex Murray
By:
Alex Murray
20 Jan 24
Betting Magazine
News - UFC
UFC 297: Strickland vs. du Plessis Main Card Betting Preview

The UFC makes its first return to Toronto, Canada for the first time since UFC 231 back in 2018, and they’ve blessed the 6 with a rowdy main card again this time around. There are a couple of exciting young Canadians on the main card, as well as two championship fights in the women’s bantamweight and men’s middleweight divisions. The main event is being billed as a pure pick ‘em, with no moneyline favorite on most UFC betting sites and betting apps.

Highlights

  • Du Plessis will claim the belt inside the distance
  • Pennington will outpoint Bueno Silva in the co-main event
  • Hometown kid Mike Malott will join the top 15 with big win over Magny

UFC 297: Sean Strickland vs. Dricus du Plessis Main Card Betting Odds - January 20

On top of Sean Strickland putting the middleweight strap on the line, the vacant women’s bantamweight title will also be contested by No. 2 Raquel Pennington and No. 3 Mayra Bueno Silva. A couple of up-and-coming Canadians will also get their chance on the big stage, with welterweight Mike Malott looking to push into the top 15 against veteran No. 13 Neil Magny, and Marc-Andre Barriault looking to do the same against No. 14 middleweight Chris Curtis. All odds provided by Sports Interaction.

(C) Sean Strickland vs. No. 2 Dricus du Plessis Middleweight Main Event Fight Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Sean Strickland-110+200+1,100+300O1.5 (-238)
Dricus du Plessis-110+200+500+900U1.5 (+175)

In the main event, we see Sean Strickland (28-5) making his first title defense against Dricus du Plessis (20-2) in a fight that has been highly anticipated ever since the two had a fracass at a previous UFC event where du Plessis made some insensitive remarks about Strickland’s childhood abuse.

However wrong the South African may have been, it’s clear from Strickland’s subsequent comments that the challenger got in the champ’s head, which is not how it usually goes. Usually it’s Strickland playing the mental game, but du Plessis has met him at the center of the octagon in that respect.

Du Plessis is a much bigger and stronger fighter than Strickland, though the champion does have the edge in terms of technical and defensive boxing. A surgery to repair du Plessis’ nose which has allowed him to increase his oxygen intake has also likely removed his biggest weakness: his gas tank.

Whether or not it even reaches the point where gas tanks come into effect is another question entirely. This fight is going to stay on the feet, but du Plessis has a massive advantage in the grappling exchanges, and his penchant for cranks and rear-naked chokes could be dangerous in there. 

Strickland had his moment in the spotlight after his shocking upset over the Last Stylebender, but his time in the sunshine is up, because du Plessis is a much bigger, stronger, faster, and younger fighter and his -110 moneyline odds look great in this spot. However, perhaps the best value would be du Plessis to win by finish at +125, as the South African has earned 19 of his 20 wins inside the distance.

No. 2 Raquel Pennington vs. No. 3 Mayra Bueno Silva Women’s Bantamweight Co-Main Event Fight Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Raquel Pennington+140+1,800+900+200O3.5 (-164)
Mayra Bueno Silva-169+700+150+325U3.5 (+125)

In the co-main event, we have a battle for the vacant women’s bantamweight strap after the previous champ, UFC legend Amanda Nunes, retired following her defense of the title. Attempting to claim it for themselves will be veteran Raquel Pennington (15-8) and submission artist Mayra Bueno Silva (10-1-1, 1 NC).

Pennington is tough. She’s got one of the better chins in the division and has been biding her time and paying her dues since losing her last title shot in 2018 to Nunes. Bueno Silva, meanwhile, is one of the most prolific female finishers in the UFC today, having finished her last three straight opponents.

The thing is, Bueno Silva relies on her opponents to make mistakes that allow her to jump in and take advantage, and the sound Pennington is unlikely to offer many opportunities like that. Bueno Silva also loves to get a choke in, and Pennington hasn’t been submitted in over a decade.

This one’s a tough call, because one mistake could mean Pennington’s neck, but we’re counting on the American to use her experience and defensive conservatism to keep Bueno Silva at bay and pick up yet another decision win at +200, which would be her sixth in her last eight fights. Fight to go the distance at -110 is also a solid look here as well if you like Pennington to avoid Bueno Silva’s submission attempts.

No. 13 Neil Magny vs. Mike Malott Welterweight Fight Odds

FighterMoneylineWin by KO/TKO/DQWin by SubmissionWin by DecisionTotal Rounds
Neil Magny+305+1,000+1,800+500O1.5 (-125)
Mike Malott-400+300+100+450U1.5 (-105)

The meat of the main card is one of the more intriguing matchups, with hometown boy Mike Malott (10-1-1) fighting in front of the Toronto faithful for the very first time. He’ll be taking on a wily veteran in Neil Magny (28-11), who has been fighting in the UFC since 2013.

This is a classic new kid on the block vs. old head situation, and while we generally appreciate the value of experience (see: Pennington), Magny looked overmatched by a similarly dominant fighter in Ian Garry last time out. However, while Garry pummeled Magny, the veteran never folded and pushed him to the scorecards.

That’s likely all he can hope for in this matchup as well, because Malott is just as well-rounded, but still in his physical prime. While Magny could try to keep his distance with a seven-inch reach advantage, Malott has the advantage in power. Plus, Magny has been known to rely on solid clinch work, which would play right into Malott’s hands, because he loves to throw power punches in those exchanges.

The question here really is, can Malott finish Magny? We say he can, because while this is a step up for the Canadian in terms of opponent quality, he’s been so dominant in the UFC (four wins by stoppage, three in the first round) that it won’t even matter. Not to mention the added bonus of a win in front of his hometown crowd and Magny’s top 15 ranking as well.

Magny has been submitted twice since June 2022 and Malott has won four of his last six via submission, so with Malott’s moneyline sitting at prohibitive odds, we’re going for his method of victory here and taking Malott to win via submission at +300 odds. 

Alex is a recent graduate of Ryerson's Sport Media program in 2019 and has been contributing to BettingTop10 since 2020. He has worked in the field of sports and sports betting for several years, including stops writing for theScore and daily fantasy sports website FantasyPros as one of the lead NBA news writers. A dedicated sports fan and experienced sports bettor, Alex has the knowledge to provide you with the best betting advice and the sneakiest props no matter what the sport may be.