Atop the UFC 297 card is a middleweight title clash between champion Sean Strickland and No. 1 contender Dricus Du Plessis. Both fighters successfully made weight, as did Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva, who will vie for the vacant bantamweight title. There were two weight misses as Malcolm Gordon came in 1.5 pounds over the flyweight limit for his fight against Jimmy Flick, and would-be bantamweight Ramon Taveras weighed 139.75 pounds for his scheduled scrap versus Serhiy Sidey. Both men will be fined a percentage of their purses as a result.
Strickland (28-5) is coming off a shocking upset of Israel Adesanya. Over five rounds, Strickland outpointed "The Last Stylebender" with his jab and solid fundamentals. "Tarzan" is now on a three-fight win streak, having also outclassed Abusupiyan Magomedov and Nassourdine Imavov. The American officially weighed 184.75 for his first title defense.
This marks the first UFC main event for Du Plessis (20-2). Undefeated since joining the promotion, "Stillknocks" is 6-0 inside the promotion. He's coming off impressive stoppages of Robert Whittaker, Derek Brunson and Darren Till. The South African fighter stepped on the scale weighing 184 pounds.
UFC 297 prelims begin at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass. The action moves over to ESPN+ and ESPNEWS at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT before transitioning to ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
* Taveras missed weight by 3.75 pounds and has been fined a percentage of his purse.
** Gordon missed weight by 1.5 pounds and has been fined a percentage of his purse.