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UFC 297 Best Bets Today: Top UFC Picks on DraftKings Sportsbook for UFC 297

Tim Finnegan gives his top picks on DraftKings Sportsbook for UFC 297.

UFC 290: Whittaker v Du Plessis Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC 297 is taking place on Saturday from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada, and the card features two title fights. The main event is a middleweight title fight between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis. Strickland and Du Plessis recently got into a fight in the crowd at UFC 296 and have engaged in a lot of trash talk, so there will be plenty of juice leading into this fight.

The co-main event is a women’s bantamweight title fight between Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva. Rising Canadian fighter Mike Malott is also on the card in a welterweight fight against Neil Magny.

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UFC 297 Picks

Sean Strickland vs. Dricus Du Plessis

Strickland and Du Plessis have both overcome significant hurdles to get into this spot, each recording huge upset wins over the cream of the crop at middleweight. Strickland claimed the title last September in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, beating longtime champion Israel Adesanya in a fight where Strickland closed as approximately a +500 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook. Likewise, Du Plessis earned his title shot with a big upset win over Robert Whittaker. Du Plessis entered that fight as a +270 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook, and at the time of the fight, Whittaker’s only losses in the previous nine years were to Israel Adesanya in middleweight title fights.

Strickland’s striking has significantly improved in recent years, most notably after working with light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira. In Strickland’s win over Israel Adesanya, Strickland utilized an excellent shell style that stifled most of Adesanya’s offensive striking game. Adesanya landed just 34% of his significant strike attempts against Strickland, way below Adesanya’s career average of 48% in the UFC. Strickland also got off quality offense, blasting Adesanya with a powerful right straight that knocked Adesanya down and nearly finished the fight. Strickland ended up out-striking Adesanya 137 to 94 in total significant strikes landed. To see Strickland dominate the stand up in a matchup against an elite striker like Adesanya was shocking.

Du Plessis had a similarly one-sided, stunning win over Robert Whittaker. Du Plessis out-struck Whittaker 62 to 31 in significant strikes landed, and Du Plessis landed an excellent 59% of his significant strike attempts, including 38 to the head. After winning Round 1 on all three of the judges’ scorecards, Du Plessis rocked Whittaker with a lead right straight from a southpaw stance in Round 2, which set up a fight-finishing flurry.

Du Plessis has an unorthodox style that seems to catch opponents by surprise. Du Plessis’ movements and techniques aren’t always visually pleasing, but they end up being effective, and it makes Du Plessis difficult to prepare for. Du Plessis also recently had surgery on his nose to fix his breathing, which is believed to have helped his cardio.

The difference in this fight could come down to power and grappling. While Strickland has better defense, Du Plessis has more power, which creates more margin for error for Du Plessis. Du Plessis also has a potential path to scoring with offensive grappling. Strickland stands upright and pressures forward, which can leave his legs vulnerable to takedown attempts. Du Plessis is averaging nearly three takedowns per 15 minutes and recorded takedowns in his most recent fights against Whittaker and Derek Brunson, two fighters that have traditionally been difficult to take down. Du Plessis could find success attacking Strickland’s upright posture with takedowns and offensive grappling. Du Plessis using the threat of the takedown could also help him sneak a hard punch through and connect if Strickland drops his hands to defend the takedown.

DraftKings Sportsbook Bets to Consider:

Dricus Du Plessis Moneyline (+114)

2 Pick Parlay:

  • Dricus Du Plessis Moneyline
  • Mike Malott Moneyline

Odds: +176

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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook, lines and odds subject to change.

All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.