UFC CEO Dana White announced three massive world title fights that will headline the promotion’s first few pay-per-views of 2024.
On Monday, White made a series of announcements, the first revealing the main event for UFC 297 on January 20. Expected to emanate from the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada, the evening’s headliner will see newly crowned middleweight champion Sean Strickland defend his title for the first time against South African standout and the No. 2 ranked contender in the division, Dricus Du Plessis.
‘Stillknocks’ earned his first shot at UFC gold with a spectacular second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 291 in July. Initially, the stage was set for an intense showdown with Israel Adesanya, but Sean Strickland threw a wrench in those plans with his decisive unanimous decision defeat of ‘The Last Stylebender’ to claim the 185-pound title at UFC 293 in Australia.
— danawhite (@danawhite) November 6, 2023
White also confirmed that reigning featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski will put his title on the line against undefeated sensation Ilia Topuria at UFC 298. No official details have been announced regarding the event, but it is expected to go down on February 17.
‘The Great’ will be coming off a second career loss to lightweight Islam Makhachev at UFC 294, but thus far, nobody has been able to solve the puzzle that Volkanovski presents at 145.
‘El Matador’ enters the bout 6-0 inside the Octagon, 14-0 overall, and locked in his first shot at UFC gold with an impressive showing against former interim title challenger Josh Emmett.
Sean O’Malley Defends UFC Title Against Division Rival ‘Chito’ Vera in March
Last, but certainly not least, UFC bantamweight world champion ‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley will make his first defense against the man he’s had his eyes on since the title belt was strapped around his waist, Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera. Their long-awaited rematch will headline UFC 299 on March 9.
O’Malley and Vera are certainly no strangers to one another, having shared the Octagon for a fight in 2020 that saw ‘Sugar’ suffer the first (and only) loss of his UFC career thus far. In the opening round, O’Malley suffered a leg injury that ultimately led to the TKO finish in favor of Vera. Since then, O’Malley has been chomping at the bit to run it back and right the wrong that he experienced that night.
Now he’ll have the chance to do exactly that but as a world champion.
O’Malley vs. Vera 2 is by far the most contentious of the three announcements considering Vera is barely coming off a lopsided loss to Cory Sandhagen. Since then, ‘Chito’ has only fought and defeated Pedro Munhoz in a fairly forgettable three-round affair the same night ‘Sugar’ KO’d Aljamain Sterling to claim the 135-pound crown.
Nevertheless, the UFC already has three incredible fights lined up for 2024. Now all we need to know is, what does Dana White and Co. have in store for UFC 300?
Watch Sean O’Malley discuss his rematch with ‘Chito’ Vera on The MMA Hour below: