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South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis Claims UFC Middleweight Gold After 5 Round War With Sean Strickland
- Dricus du Plessis beat Sean Strickland via split decision to win the UFC's Middleweight title
- Strickland and Du Plessis both went to war over five rounds in the main event of UFC 297
- Du Plessis remains undefeated in the UFC and becomes the first champion from South Africa
Dricus du Plessis is the new UFC Middleweight Champion of the world
The South African MMA fighter defeated Sean Strickland via split decision to claim the title in the main event of UFC 297.
Despite the previous animosity between the pair coming into the fight, the first round started slowly as both men tried to find their range.
Strickland found success with a few jabs at first, but du Plessis fired back with a few kicks of his own. The South African then showed another element of his game, as he took the champion down with a takedown.
After getting tagged a bit in the first round, du Plessis looked a bit more cautious coming into the second.
The champion still found a home for his jab in round two, leaving the South African having to defend more than he would have liked.
Strickland looked comfortable with the offence coming his way as the round wore on, but Stillknocks started adjusting his game plan to get in more shots.
With a minute to go in the round, he managed to take Strickland down to the ground again for a few seconds and finished the round a lot stronger than he started.
The South African started the third a lot stronger, landing a kick to the head early on.
He also managed to get in more overhead punches as the fight wore on, something he struggled with in round one.
The rest of the third was a more even showing, as both men landed shots with varying degrees of success.
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The fight then entered the championship rounds as each man sought to still find that big moment.
You could sense the urgency from both men as the round wore on, with Strickland landing the right more often and du Plessis cutting the champion open with a hook of his own.
The contender then targeted the cut, finding more success for his shots.
He also took down the champion three times in the round, but Strickland managed to get up each time.
The fifth and final round got underway with both coaches dispensing their final advice to their fighters.
Both men didn’t go out all guns blazing but did both land shots.
Strickland started to find a bit more success in the fifth round, but it still proved too close to call with a minute to go in the fight.
With the crowd cheering once it became a minute to go, both men started trading more shots, leaving the crowd wanting more. With neither finding the finishing blow, the fight went to the judges' scorecard, and they gave it to the South African via split decision.
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Dana White praises Dricus du Plessis
Sports Brief earlier reported how UFC President Dana White praised South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis.
White went into detail about what made the former EFC champion such a good fighter, ahead of his title fight.
The UFC President then promised that the fighting juggernaut would come to Africa if Stillknocks won.