What’s next for the stars of UFC 297?

By Cole Shelton - January 22, 2024

The first UFC pay-per-view event of 2024 went down on Saturday night in Toronto and saw two title fights headline the card.

Dricus Du Plessis and Sean Strickland UFC 297

In the main event of UFC 297, Sean Strickland was looking to defend his middleweight title against Dricus Du Plessis, while the co-main event saw Raquel Pennington take on Mayra Bueno Silva for the vacant women’s bantamweight title.

Ultimately, it was Du Plessis who edged out a split decision win over Strickland to become the new middleweight champion. In the co-main event, Pennington became the new women’s bantamweight champ with a lopsided decision win over Bueno Silva.  Now, here is what I think should be next for the four fighters involved in the title fights at UFC 297.

Dricus Du Plessis

Dricus Du Plessis is the new middleweight champion after he edged out a very competitive and entertaining split decision win over Sean Strickland. The victory improved Du Plessis to 7-0 in the UFC as the South African continues to silence his doubters.

Although it was a very close fight, an immediate rematch isn’t likely to be next, and instead, Dricus Du Plessis should face Israel Adesanya for his first title defense. Du Plessis and Adesanya were supposed to fight last year, and the storyline is there for a massive title fight that should take place sometime in the summer.

Sean Strickland

Although Sean Strickland lost his middleweight title in a very close fight at UFC 297, he proved to be a massive star for the promotion.

Strickland won’t likely get an immediate rematch but is probably just a win away from getting another title shot. With that said, Strickland should face the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa at UFC 298 in a title eliminator bout his next time out. The timing makes sense for the two to fight sometime in the summer, and perhaps on the same card as Du Plessis-Adesanya.

Raquel Pennington

Raquel Pennington, Mayra Bueno Silva, UFC 297, Results, Pros react

Raquel Pennington is finally a UFC champion.

Pennington fought for the title in 2018 and lost by fifth-round TKO to Amanda Nunes. She then went 2-2 over her next four outings, but later proceeded to win five straight fights which earned her the title shot at UFC 297. Against Bueno Silva, Pennington was able to grind out a decision win.

In Pennington’s first title defense she should face Julianna Pena who should have been fighting on Saturday had it not been for an injury. Pena is the obvious number one contender and the fight can happen sometime in the early summer.

Mayra Bueno Silva

Mayra Bueno Silva came up short in her first crack at UFC gold on Saturday as she lost a decision to Raquel Pennington at UFC 297.

Although Bueno Silva lost at UFC 297, she likely is only a win or two away from getting another title fight. The women’s bantamweight division isn’t very deep, but a logical next fight is for Bueno Silva is to face fourth-ranked Ketlen Vieira.


Dricus du Plessis Mayra Bueno Silva Raquel Pennington Sean Strickland UFC