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UFC: Strickland bout part of 2024 triple-header announced

It will be a Happy New Year for MMA fans after UFC president Dana White's announcement of a triple-header of must-see box-office fights to brighten up the early months of 2024.

Sean Strickland and Dricus du Plessis will headline UFC 297 in a middleweight clash to savour in January.

Alex Volkanoski puts his featherweight title on the line a month later against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298.

Then, in March, the headline act will be 'Sugar' Sean O'Malley's showdown against Marlon Vera for bantamweight glory.

Sean Strickland v Dricus du Plessis information

  • Where is Sean Strickland v Dricus du Plessis? Venue TBC, Toronto, Canada
  • When is Sean Strickland v Dricus du Plessis? Sunday 21st January 2024
  • Where can I watch Sean Strickland v Dricus du Plessis? TNT Sports

Sean Strickland v Dricus du Plessis odds

Sean Strickland - 4/6
Dricus Du Plessis - 5/4

Strickland set for Toronto defence against Du Plessis

Newly-crowned middleweight champion Sean Strickland will make the first defence of his title in Toronto on 24th January but perhaps not against the opponent many thought would top the bill of UFC 297. 

Strickland, the man they call 'Tarzan', caused quite the stir when he defied the odds to beat Israel Adesanya to win the Middleweight Championship in one of the division's biggest upsets in Sydney in September. 

The 32-year-old American, a nine-year UFC veteran, was then pencilled in for a first defence against Khamzat Chimaev in the New Year, but the board has preferred to send him into the octagon in Toronto alongside Dricus du Plessis instead. 

Du Plessis impressive in TKO victory over Whittaker

Du Plessis has a perfect 6-0 record since leaving KSW in 2019 and last fought in July, also causing something of a stir with a second-round TKO over Robert Whittaker in what was an eliminator for a shot at Adesanya. 

That fight was slated for UFC 293 only for Du Plessis to back out citing an injury. Strickland stepped in and the rest, as they say, is history. 

It's believed Chimaev may have blotted his copybook with a below-par points win over Kamaru Usman in October, throwing the route open to Du Plessis for a shot at the new title holder.

Alexander Volkanoski v Ilia Topuria information

  • Where is Alexander Volkanoski v Ilia Topuria? Venue TBC
  • When is Alexander Volkanoski v Ilia Topuria? Saturday 17th February 2024
  • Where can I watch Alexander Volkanoski v Ilia Topuria? TNT Sports

Volkanoski aiming to bounce back against Topuria

Alexander Volkanoski will be super keen to get back into the octagon as he seeks to wipe from the memory banks the worst defeat of his career. 

In his quest to become a two-division champion, the reigning featherweight king took a late cancellation to challenge flyweight supremo Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 and it ended in a bitter and tearful first-round knockout. 

Topuria a dangerous opponent

He will only have to wait for UFC 298 to get a chance to end a 1-2 streak, but at least is taking on Ilia Topuria at his favoured featherweight. 

Topuria, a relative youngster at 26, is making quick and impressive strides in UFC with a 6-0 record and a 14-0 record overall. 

Topuria, who modestly hails himself as the greatest of all time, has jumped up the contender list to take on Alexander 'The Great'. 

If Volkanoski has got the Makhachev debacle out of his system he will still take all the beating.

Sean O'Malley v Marlon Vera information

  • Where is Sean O'Malley v Marlon Vera? Venue TBC
  • When is Sean O'Malley v Marlon Vera? Saturday 9th March 2024
  • Where can I watch Sean O'Malley v Marlon Vera? TNT Sports

O'Malley-Vera rematch at UFC 299

UFC 299 will feature what should be a thrilling Bantamweight Championship tear-up between Sean O'Malley and Marlon Vera, and a long-overdue chance for revenge for the American. 

O'Malley and Vera fought at UFC 252 in Las Vegas three years ago, the Ecuador ace winning amid a flurry of punches which ended the contest in the first round. 

It is O'Malley, however, who has gone on to greater things, winning the Bantamweight title in August by stopping Aljamain Sterling. 

A rematch was touted while a first fight with Georgian hardcase Merab Dvalishvili was also in the mix, but White has preferred to put O'Malley-Vera II into the billboards and certainly there is no love lost between the two.

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