UFC president Dana White announced three title fights for early 2024 for the promotion. Starting in January at UFC 297, Sean Strickland will defend his title against Dricus Du Plessis. Also announced were Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria and Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon Vera.
UFC Announces Three Title Fights For 2024
UFC president Dana White announced plans for three title fights in the early portion of 2024 on Monday.
The year kicks off with Sean Strickland defending his middleweight championship against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297. After that, Alexander Volkanovski returns to defend his featherweight title at UFC 298 against Ilia Topuria.
And finally, Sean O’Malley will put his bantamweight belt on the line against Marlon Vera at UFC 299.
The exact dates and locations for the other two are still not known.
Sean Strickland Vs. Dricus Du Plessis
Set for January 20 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Strickland makes his first title defend against du Plessis.
The 32-year-old dominated Israel Adesanya this past September to claim his first UFC championship, pushing his current win streak to three in a row. Overall, Strickland is 28-5 with 11 knockout and four wins by submission.
Du Plessis, a 29-year-old from South Africa, has not lost since 2018 when he was bested by Roberto Soldic in KSW. He is 6-0 since joining the promotion including a July finish of former champion Robert Whittaker.
Alexander Volkanovski Vs. Ilia Topuria
This bout was expected to headline UFC 297, but was delayed a month after Volkanovski stepped in to challenge Islam Makhachev for the lightweight belt at UFC 294.
The 35-year-old Volkanovski has lost only twice in the Octagon, with both bouts coming at lightweight to Makhachev. He unified the titles this past July with a third round TKO over Yair Rodriguez after claiming the belt back in 2019 over Max Holloway.
Volkanovski has scored wins over Holloway, Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung.
Topuria is a perfect 14-0 in his career, with six of those coming inside the Octagon. He earned a victory over Josh Emmett this past June.
The event is set for February 17.
Sean O’Malley Vs. Marlon Vera
This is a rematch of a 2020 bout won by Vera in the first round.
Since that time, O’Malley is unbeaten over six fights, including an August finish of Aljamain Sterling for the title. He is 17-1 with a no-contest, winning 13 fights by KO or TKO and another by submission.
Vera dropped a bout to Jose Aldo after the win vs. O’Malley, but has since gone 5-1 with only a split decision defeat to Cory Sandhagen. He has topped former champions Dominick Cruz and Frankie Edgar by knockout during his current run.
The event is set for March 9.