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The interplay of spin-orbit coupling and Zeeman splitting in ultracold Fermi gases gives rise to a topological superfluid phase in two spatial dimensions that can host exotic Majorana excitations. Theoretical models have so far been based on a four-band Bogoliubov-de Gennes formalism for the combined spin-1/2 and particle-hole degrees of freedom. Here we present a simpler, yet accurate, two-band description based on a well-controlled projection technique that provides a new platform for exploring analogies with chiral p-wave superfluidity and detailed future studies of spatially non-uniform situations.