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UFC 297 main card betting picks and MMA predictions | January 20

UFC 297 Main Card preview

Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis

UFC 297 Main Card Odds & Main Event Info

Fight odds Strickland -117.65 at Bovada | Du Plessis -106.38 at Bovada
When Saturday, January 20 – main card from 9pm EST
Where Scotiabank Arena – Toronto
Watch Live ESPN+ PPV (US), BT Sport (UK), Main Event (AU)

The UFC 297 main card from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada, features two title fights between Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis for the middleweight title and Raquel Pennington taking on Mayra Bueno Silva for the vacant women’s bantamweight throne among an array of compelling contests.

Other highlights include a match-up between surging Canadian newcomer Mike Malott and wily veteran Neil Magny and a contest between a pair of future bantamweight contenders, Arnold Allen and Movsar Evloev.

Read for our full tips and analysis on all the best bets to place in UFC 297.

Sean Strickland v Dricus Du Plessis preview

Sean Strickland

vs

Dricus Du Plessis

-109.89 at Bovada Odds -117.65 at Bovada
28-5-0 MMA record 20-2-0
32 Age 30
6’1″ Height 6’1″
185lbs Weight 185lbs
76″ Reach 76″
USA Nationality SA

Can Sean Strickland defend his title against one of the most impressive middleweights in the division? Read our in-depth analysis of Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis here.


Raquel Pennington v Mayra Bueno Silva preview

Raquel Pennington

vs

Mayra Bueno Silva

+135 at Bovada Odds -172.41 at Bovada
15-8-0 MMA record 10-2-1
25 Age 32
5’7″ Height 5’6″
135lbs Weight 135lbs
67.5″ Reach 66.5″
USA Nationality Brazil

Raquel Pennington (15-9-0) has been a perennial fixture in the women’s bantamweight division since 2014 and fought for the title in 2018 versus Amanda Nunes. The American came up short against the overwhelming dominance of Nunes but now gets a second chance at UFC gold. Pennington is a volume striker who can effectively chip away with jabs and low kicks that score favorably with the judging panel. She has just one career knockout on her record, but nobody could begrudge the 35-year-old a title after her long history of gutsy UFC efforts.

Mayra Bueno Silva (10-2-1) last fought in July 2023 and submitted former champion Holly Holm with a tidy ninja choke in the second round. The result was, however, overturned when the Brazilian returned a positive drug test for ritalinic acid. The 32-year-old is an elite BJJ practitioner and will enjoy a sizeable advantage if she can take Pennington to the mat. Bueno Silva’s performance against Holme will fill her with confidence, and she is favored by the top online sportsbooks to emerge with the UFC gold belt.

Mayra Bueno Silva by Submission

+200
@
Bovada

Neil Magny vs Mike Mallot preview

Neil Magny

vs

Mike Mallot

+300 at Bovada Odds -400 at Bovada
28-11-0 MMA record 10-1-1
36 Age 32
6’3″ Height 6’1″
170lbs Weight 170lbs
80″ Reach 73.5″
USA Nationality Canada

Neil Magny (28-12-0) has fought some of the toughest welterweight contenders in recent years in his role as unofficial gatekeeper for the division. The 36-year-old was beaten by rising Irish star Ian Garry in late 2023 after coming up short against former contender Gilbert Burns and the unbeaten Shavkat Rakhmonov. Magny has drawn another tough assignment in Toronto. The veteran will enjoy a significant height and reach advantage though as he attempts to impose his will on yet another boom athlete.

Mike Malott (10-1-1) has not lost a professional fight since 2014 and is considered a potential future champion at 170 pounds. The Canadian is an elite grappler, with six of his career wins coming via submission stoppage. He may struggle against the long and looping strikes of Magny and will be anxious to land a takedown at the first opportunity. If he can secure top-ground position, we expect Malott to dominate proceedings from that point forward.

Mike Mallot by Submission

+135
@
Bovada

Chris Curtis vs. Marc-Andre Barriault preview

Chris Curtis

vs

Marc-Andre Barriault

-200 at Bovada Odds +160 at Bovada
30-10-0 MMA record 16-6-0
36 Age 32
5’10” Height 6’1″
185lbs Weight 185lbs
75.5″ Reach 74″
USA Nationality Canada

Chris Curtis (30-10-0) has endured a tough 18 months with one win, two losses, and one no-contest to show for his recent efforts. The 36-year-old veteran can be one-dimensional in his approach and relies on raw punching power to secure his victories. He has a very poor record with the judges and tends to tire quickly and lower his volume as his fights progress. His best route to victory is to find a home for his heavy early shots before fatigue begins to slow his movement around the cage.

Marc-Andre Barriault (16-6-0) brings a similar style to this contest as his opponent, so we could be in for an explosive opening round. The Canadian has 10 knockout wins on his record and will enjoy enormous hometown support. The 33-year-old has endured less damage throughout his career than Curtis, but both men are susceptible to being hit due to their aggressive approach. Barriault is surprisingly priced at Bovada for this contest, and our assessment has the match-up as a coin flip. We are therefore leaning toward the local hero to deliver for his fans.

Marc-Andre Barriault to win

+160
@
Bovada

Arnold Allen v Movsar Evloev preview

Arnold Allen

vs

Mosvar Evloev

-208.33 at Bovada Odds +145 at Bovada
30-10-0 MMA record 16-6-0
36 Age 32
5’10” Height 6’1″
185lbs Weight 185lbs
75.5″ Reach 74″
USA Nationality Canada

Arnold Allen (19-2-0) was on a 12-fight win streak prior to his most recent appearance where he was comprehensively out-struck by former champion Max Holloway in April 2023. The Brit has taken a long break to rebuild his confidence and plug holes in his game but still shapes as a potential future challenger in the featherweight division. He has never been finished throughout his career and boasts a well-rounded skillset. Despite these positives, he enters this contest as a pronounced underdog.

Movsar Evloev (17-0-0) is an unbeaten wrestler who is another potential contender at 145 pounds. The Russian is not a proven finisher, with the bulk of his wins coming via the scorecard. He is blessed with elite-level cardio and applies the type of pressure that can break the will of lesser grapplers. If Evloev cannot find the top position in this match-up, he might be forced to stand and trade with a superior striker, and we are favoring the upset in this contest.

Arnold Allen to win

+170
@
Bovada

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United States

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