WATCH: Dricus du Plessis, Sean Strickland crowd brawl overshadows UFC 296

Dricus du Plessis of South Africa reacts after defeating Darren Till of England in a middleweight fight during the UFC 282 event.

South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis was involved in a cageside brawl with Sean Strickland at UFC 296. Picture: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images / AFP

Published Dec 17, 2023


South Africa’s MMA fighter Dricus du Plessis and UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland were involved in brawl in the crowd at UFC 296 in Las Vegas.

Following a war of words when the two fighters were introduced in their cageside seats, Strickland jumped from his seat and attacked Du Plessis, landing various punches to the head.

Du Plessis then fought back, before the two fighters were separated by security.

Du Plessis will challenge Strickland for the title at UFC 297 in Toronto, Canada, on January 20 after the poster for the fight was revealed last week.

Du Plessis secured the title fight with his stoppage win over former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at UFC earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Leon Edwards managed to hang on to his welterweight title, beating Colby Covington by unanimous decision in their main event bout at UFC 296.

Edwards took all three cards by the same score, 49-46, to successfully defend the UFC welterweight belt for the second time. He also did so back on March 18, when he defeated Kamaru Usman by majority decision.

Usman was the one who gave up the title to Edwards (22-3-0), losing to him by knockout on Aug. 20, 2022.

Edwards hasn't lost a UFC fight since Dec. 19, 2015. Covington fell to 17-4-0 on Saturday.

Alexandre Pantoja (27-5-0) also refused to give up a belt on Saturday, playing keepaway from Brandon Royval (15-7-0) with a 50-45, 50-45, 49-46 victory by unanimous decision in a flyweight bout.

Shavkat Rakhmonov remained flawless, improving to 18-0-0 by prevailing in a welterweight brawl vs. Stephen Thompson (17-7-1).

In other action Saturday, Paddy Pimblett (21-3-0) topped Tony Ferguson (26-10-0) in lightweight action, and Josh Emmett (19-4-0) bested Bryce Mitchell (16-3-0) in a featherweight fight.