Mixed martial arts fighter Dricus Du Plessis has made history by becoming the first South African to win the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title after beating American Sean Strickland on Sunday.
The hot-headed and much anticipated middleweight five-round showdown title fight between Strickland and Du Plessis was from inside the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Du Plessis won the fight by a split decision, in what was an emotional end to what was a heated and tight bout.
The South African started the fight slow as Strickland was revved up in his mission to defend the UFC title, he stripped from Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya recently.
Going into the second round, Du Plessis was fired up as he took the game to the American – landing body shorts to Strickland and cut him open with a powerful right-hand punch on the eye to turn the tables and win the round 10-9.
Du Plessis picked up from where he left off and kept on pushing forward. Just inside round three, the South African found the mark with a well-timed head kick.
Strickland could only land jabs and hooks, but it was not enough as Du Plessis won the round again after landing clean body shots and fist combos.
Entering the championship rounds, both fighters traded fists after fists in the center of the octagon – with neither of them looking to back down.
Strickland probably succumbed to more take downs than he ever did in his career, as Du Plessis suplexed him with an attempt to force him to a submission.
Du Plessis kept on pursuing and charging forward with clean hooks, body kicks and spins – giving Strickland no chance. The American also had a fair share of landing combinations to the challenger.
The last round was the last straw from both fighters as they continued to trade power shots and jabs. It was a round that Strickland fought better but it was not enough as Du Plessis stood firm and was named the new UFC middleweight champion.