Round 1: The two UFC newcomers touch gloves and Sullivan takes the center of the cage. He lands an outside leg kick. Sullivan presses forward. Sullivan continues to press the action. Rhodes looks to counter. Rhodes lands a right hand and they clinch. Rhodes changes levels and slams Sullivan to the canvas. Sullivan quickly gets back to his feet. They work for position along the cage. Rhodes disengages and backs away after missing with an elbow. Rhodes switches stances. Sullivan continues to throw leg kicks. Sullivan presses forward with a combination and looks to get the fight to the ground. He does. Rhodes gets to his feet, but Sullivan trips him back to the ground. Rhodes looks for a kimura. Sullivan advances to the mount position. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Sullivan.
Round 2: Sullivan delivers a power outside leg kick to start the second frame. Sullivan is the more active of the two. He continues to throw leg kicks. He moves in with a combination. Rhodes ties him up and delivers a knee. Sullivan catches it and pushes him away. Rhodes lands a right hand. He switches stances and lands a straight left. Rhodes lands a big right hand. He leaps in with a knee. Sullivan covers and fires back. They exchange kicks to the body. Two minutes remain in the round. Sullivan goes to the body, but Rhodes counters with a combination. Rhodes delivers a lead uppercut. Sullivan clinches and delivers a knee to the body. Rhodes turns him and they work for position. Sullivan lands short right hands inside the clinch. Rhodes working hard to get the fight tot he ground. Sullivan showing good defense, and he tries to get thee fight to the ground. The round ends. Close round. MMAWeekly scores it 10-9 for Rhodes.
Round 3: Rhodes takes the center of the cage in the final round. He lands a right hand followed by a leg kick. Sullivan continues to land leg kicks. They exchange right hands. Sullivan throwing punches in volume. Sullivan lands a right hand. He lands another. Rhodes answers with a kick to the body. Sullivan changes levels and works to get the fight to the ground. They work for position along the cage. Sullivan delivers a knee to the body. Rhodes separates. Sullivan lands a right hand. Rhodes comes back with a jab followed by a spinning back kick to the body. Sullivan steps in with a right hand. Sullivan is outworking Rhodes. Rhodes lands a kick to the body. They clinch. Sullivan works for a single leg takedown. He lands a knee to the body. Rhodes explodes and gets Sullivan to the ground in the closing seconds. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Sullivan.
The judges agree with MMAWeekly’s scoring and decide Sullivan won by unanimous decision. All three scorecards read 29-28.
“I was able to push the pace and overwhelm him with my pace. I knew I hit harder than he did. When I hit in hard he backed up. I was a lot stronger than he was and was able to get him to the ground. I wasn’t able to finish him. I have a sinus infection and was winded, but I was able to get the win.
“I’m glad I got the first fight over with, so the nerves will be gone. I won’t have the jitters during the next fight.”
“It was a short notice fight, so I couldn’t come in my best shape. I had some moments of greatness tonight, but George could capitalize on my mistakes. I think I was good, but not enough to finish the fight. I just want to get back to the gym and start thinking about my next fights. I’m focusing on improvement.”