Two title fights highlight the main card of UFC 297 taking place this Saturday, January 20 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The PPV event kicks off with the early prelims at 6 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass followed by prelims at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN+. To close out the show, main card coverage begins at 10 p.m. on ESPN+ PPV.
In the co-main event, #2 Raquel Pennington and #3 Mayra Bueno Silva face off for the vacant women’s bantamweight title. Bueno Silva is the betting favorite with -166 odds to win, while Pennington has +136 odds to win. The favored method of victory is Bueno Silva to win by submission (+175).
The main event features a blockbuster matchup of Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis, clashing for Strickland’s undisputed UFC middleweight title. Strickland enters with -118 odds to win, while Du Plessis has -102 odds to win. The favored method of victory is Du Plessis to win by KO (+200), per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Below we make some picks and predictions for the five-fight main card.
UFC 297 predictions
Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev
A good matchup of two top-10 featherweights, Allen had his 10 fight winning streak snapped in a loss to Max Holloway last April. As far Evloev, he hasn’t lost a fight in his career, lastly defeating Diego Lopes by unanimous decision in May. Allen is a very talented fighter but I think he drops another one in a tough war by UD.
Prediction: Evloev to win by decision (-135 on DK)
Chris Curtis vs. Marc-Andre Barriault
Barriault is a native of Canada and will certainly utilize the crowd to amplify his performance. He defeated Eric Anders by UD last June at UFC 289. Curtis has dropped two of his last four, including a No Contest result against Nassourdine Imavov in his last bout. Barriault is not afraid to let his hands fly but expect Curtis to overwhelm him during the second half of the fight. I think “Action Man” gets back into the win column.
Prediction: Curtis to win by decision (+140 on DK)
Neil Magny vs. Mike Malott
Magny has lost two of his last three fights, with his last win coming over over Philip Rowe last June. Malott made his name on the Dana White Contender Series back in 2021 and has gone 3-0 since making it to the UFC. Two of his last three wins have come by submission and I expect this trend to continue.
Prediction: Malott to win by submission (+110 on DK)
Raquel Pennington vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Pennington gets her second chance at the bantamweight title but faces a tough out in Silva. The one problem with Pennington is she tends to rely on the cards and stall a bit on offense. Facing a talent like Silva, she can’t afford to take her foot on the gas. Pennington is sound fundamentally, can defend a takedown or two, but Silva in my opinion has too many tricks up her sleeve. I like Silva to walk away victorious.
Prediction: Silva moneyline (-166 on DK)
Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis
The pre-fight buzz between these two was off the charts and unfortunately Strickland put himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Du Plessis has been impressive of late, taking out Derek Brunson and Robert Whittaker both with second-round finishes. Strickland is coming off the performance of his life and I think the extra media attention hurts his focus. Give me Du Plessis by KO and earlier than expected.
Prediction: Du Plessis to win by KO in round 2 (+850 on DK) / Alternate Total Rounds UNDER 3.5 (-185)