Robert Whittaker pushes the pace and demonstrated crisp, accurate striking tonight at UFC Fight Night 43 to earn a decision victory to earn a decisioin victory in front of his home fans in New Zealand.
Trading jabs to starts here and Whittaker lands a kick to the leg. Rhodes responds with one of his own.
They throw at close range. Whittaker unleashes a nice combinations of punches followed by a leg kick.
Rhodes gets through with a punch of his own now. Competitive starts here as they both land some nice strikes in the early stages.
Whittaker lands a hard shot and soon after Rhodes stumbles a little as he loads up too hard on a punch of his own.
Rhodes with a spinning attack. Whittaker seems to be finding his range though and is turning up the heat as he starts to land with more frequency.
Perhaps sensing that Rhodes opts to clinch up and slows down the pace a little against the cage.
Whittaker gets away and goes back to pressing the action. The two exchange kicks. Higher volume of strikes definitely coming from the TUF champ here with good accuracy, and that’s the end of the round.
Leg kick for Whittaker and he thinks about another kick straight up the middle. Rhodes tries a high kick of his own and it wings just over his opponents head.
Rhodes gets in on a takedown attempt, briefly lands it, but then Whittaker stands up and is able to move away from the clinch.
Rhodes trying to get off on some strikes, but coming up a little short and Whittaker responds with more accurate shots of his own.
Nice left hand lands for Whittaker and another. Rhodes might be a little dazed here as he’s starting to hold his hands up defensively and looks a little sluggish on his feet.
To his credit he tries to unleash some offense, but he’s not landing with authority and Whittaker continues to push the pace.
Left hands landing with regularity for Whittaker. Rhodes with some tired looking kicks. Whittaker with a nice combo of straight punches that backs his opponent up.
Whittaker mixing in uppercuts now into his flurries and they are finding their mark.
Whittaker with a body kick. Exchange of punches in close. Leg kick for Rhodes. Rhodes is trying to up his pace this round, but still the shots that are landing more frequently and meaningfully are coming from Whittaker.
Whittaker with a nice uppercut and a hook. Rhodes tries to counter, but a hard blow lands for Whittaker.
Rhodes with a combination now. Body kick from Rhodes, but it’s a tired looking strike.
Whittaker with elbows in his attacks now as he tries to keep things fresh in the final five minutes. Speaking of which then he suddenly moves in for his first takedown of the fight and gets Rhodes on his back.
90 seconds to go and Whittaker is in half guard landing a little ground and pound as Rhodes tries hard to find a way to get back up.
Whittaker lands a few more short punches to the head and thinks momentarily about a guillotine choke, but decides against it.
Rhodes just clinging on now and that strategy pays off as the ref stands them back up for a lack of action. Rhodes finds one last burst of energy to throw a spinning attack, but it doesn’t land and the final bell sounds.
Little doubt about the winner here and Whittaker takes a clean sweep on the judges scorecards (30-27 x3).