Dricus du Plessis has become South Africa’s first UFC champion with a split decision victory over American Sean Strickland in their middleweight title fight in Toronto at UFC 297.
Du Plessis beat Strickland, who had won the belt from Israel Adesanya in September, 48-47, 48-47, 47-48 for his seventh straight UFC victory.
In the co-main event, American Raquel Pennington won her first UFC title.
She beat Mayra Bueno Silva by unanimous decision in their bantamweight fight.
On the undercard, British featherweight Arnold Allen was handed a second straight loss with a unanimous defeat by Russian Movsar Evloev.
Allen, 29, lost to former champion Max Holloway in April last year to end his 10-fight UFC winning streak.
In the build-up to Saturday’s event, Strickland made homophobic and transphobic comments, and was also highly critical of women’s mixed martial arts.
On the night he had success with his jab in the early rounds and landed more strikes than Du Plessis, but the South African cut Strickland’s eye in the fourth.
Strickland finished strongly and the fight went to the judges’ scorecards.
“This is history,” said Du Plessis, 30, who was in tears after the fight and later called out Adesanya.
Meanwhile, Pennington has finally got her hands on a belt, almost six years after she lost to Amanda Nunes in her first UFC title fight.
Brazil’s Bueno Silva started strongly and threatened with a choke hold, but 35-year-old Pennington started to dominate and as her opponent faded she won with scores of 49-46, 49-46 and 49-45 to take the vacant title and her sixth straight victory.
Source link : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/mixed-martial-arts/68046636?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA
Publish date : 2024-01-21 12:01:42