the Real Winners and Losers from UFC 297

 Ays News

 January 21.1.2024   IST

 It was the first octagonal championship match of the new year and the five-rounder was stationed atop a five-bout pay-per-view portion billed as UFC 297. A second title match pitted Raquel Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva, ranked second and third behind ex-champ Julianna Pena, for the bantamweight title vacated by the retirement of Amanda Nunes in June.

 Winner: Delivering the Goods

 Having survived a five-round grind for the first time in a 10-plus-year career, Du Plessis collapsed into the arms of his corner team and his father, exulting in the split decision that saw him take two scorecards by 48-47 margins to offset a dissenting score in Strickland's favor by the same margin.

 Winner: Completing the Climb

 As Pennington stood over Bueno Silva and strafed her legs with kicks while looking for opportunities to drop down with hard, slashing elbows, her rival reclined on her back with hands behind her head.

 Loser: Finishing the Job

 The popular Canadian was left flat on his back by veteran welterweight contender Neil Magny with just 15 seconds remaining in their three-rounder, and it was several moments before the previously unbeaten 32-year-old, who'd barely lost a moment in the UFC let alone a fight, could get up.

 Loser: Pleasing the People

 Though the night's first eight bouts weren't exactly filled with recognizable names, there was more than enough action to keep a packed house at Scotiabank Arena satisfied

 Winner: Stepping Up

The unbeaten Russian featherweight emerged from 15 minutes with the promotion's fourth-ranked contender with blood oozing from the side of his head and discolorations around both eyes, but his most prized professional possession—an undefeated record—still intact.

 Loser: Hearing Things

 The promotion's veteran voice read a pair of 29-28 cards—one in each fighter's direction—before breaking the tie with another 29-28 score that gave the verdict to Woodson.

 Winner: Cult Classic

 Though bantamweight rivals Serhiy Sidey and Ramon Taveras were on precisely no one's radar outside of their immediate families before Saturday night, their blend of styles may ultimately land them among the UFC's most familiar foes.

 Winner: Bringing It Back

 Gillian Robertson gets her mail these days in Florida, but she was born on the Canadian side of the border town of Niagara Falls and has been competitively perked up each time she's crossed the 49th parallel into her original home and native land.

 Winner: Making Change

 The 27-year-old Englishman was a winner on Dana White's Contender Series 16 months ago, but lasted just 75 seconds in his official debut with the promotion last March in London.

 Winner: Combative Canadian

 The Brazilian balked at making the initially contracted weight for the early prelim fight and ultimately tipped in at 133 pounds, angering the Niagara Top Team product to the point of outright competitive cruelty on the way to a third-round submission win

 Winner: Road Trip Resilience

 His 33-year-old foe was aggressive and busy and had Flick on the verge of an early exit with a volley of powerful strikes that drew the attention of referee Todd Anderson.

 Full Card Results

 Main Card Dricus Du Plessis def. Sean Strickland by split decision (48-49, 49-48, 49-48) Raquel Pennington def. Mayra Bueno Silva by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-45) Neil Magny def. Mike Malott by TKO (strikes), 4:45, Round 3 Chris Curtis def. Marc-Andre Barriault by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27) Movsar Evloev def. Arnold Allen by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)