Sean Strickland’s head coach is confident. He believes that setting the pace will be key to a successful title defense against Dricus Du Plessis.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champ is ready. He’ll put his title on the line at UFC 297 next month in Toronto.
Nicksick, Strickland’s head coach, has a plan. He’s laid out a roadmap to victory against the South African standout. He expects “Stillknocks” (20-2) to come out guns blazing. It’ll be crucial for Strickland (28-5) to establish control, he thinks.
Nicksick has a prediction: an exciting scrap. He claims Strickland will take over as the fight progresses. Nicksick recently told Inside Fighting, “I think it’s going to be a matter of setting a precedent on the pace. Dricus is going to come out hard, heavy and fast right away. We’re going to have to manage that pace in the first couple of rounds. Once Sean gets into the fight, that’s when Sean’s really going to be able to take over. Both of these guys are right where they belong.”
Randy [Couture] always told Nicksick something. He said, “The hardest fight of your career is your first title defense.” Nicksick agrees. He believes it’s up to them to be on their Ps and Qs and defend this belt.
Du Plessis earned a title shot against Israel Adesanya. He did it by knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 290. But, he had to pull out at the last minute due to a foot injury.
Strickland stepped up. He took on Adesanya at UFC 293 in September on short notice. He went on to dominate “The Last Stylebender” in a major upset.
UFC 297 is happening on Jan. 20. It’s at ScotiaBank Arena in Toronto. This will mark the UFC’s first trip to Canada in over four years. The card is currently set to be headlined by Strickland and Du Plessis. Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva are scheduled to fight for the vacant women’s bantamweight title in the co-main event.