Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA
Sullivan Cauley will look to start his career 3-0 when he meets Ben Parrish (5-1 MMA) in a light heavyweight throwdown at Bellator 273. The card is scheduled for Jan. 29 from the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Parrish enters the bout with more professional experience than either of Cauley’s previous two opponents. Cauley said Parrish deserves his due, but when the dust settles, he’ll be the one with his hand raised.
“He can definitely fight a little bit. I don’t think he’s a world-beater,” Cauley told MMASucka. “I think he might have gotten a little lucky knocking out [Christian] Edwards. I think Edwards is a bit of a hype train, to begin with. I think Parrish is tough. He doesn’t quit easy. You’ve got to kind of take him out if you’re going to beat him. But I think I’m better than him pretty much everywhere, and I plan on being aggressive and trying to take him out.”
Parrish’s knockout win over Edwards adds to the match-up for Cauley, as he said the finish put Edwards on the map and people know who he is now.
“Again, I think I’m better than him,” Cauley said. “I think a win against him gets my name out there a little bit more.”
Four fights, including the Parrish bout, are left on Cauley’s development contract with Bellator. From there, he hopes his level of opponent will slowly ramp up before he takes on some of light heavyweight’s finest.
Cauley’s favorite takedown as a wrestler is the double leg, as he said it’s the highest percentage. From there, he likes to do damage in the half-guard position, where his opponents have a long way to go to get out from under him.
“But I feel good everywhere,” he added. “I feel my ground and pound is dangerous everywhere. I don’t do a lot of holding on top. I try do to a lot of make guys carry my weight and punching.”
Cauley is still looking for the first submission win of his career, but he said he won’t force the issue, as he likes to take what his foes give him on the mat.
“I have my submissions that I like to go to. But I’m big on position. I don’t throw up submission attempts that are going to cause me to give up dominant top position. If I can smash him with strikes and get him with an arm triangle or a key lock or something from on top, then I will. But I focus on position and landing hard strikes more than anything on top.”
Bellator 273 is set to be headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Ryan Bader and Valentin Moldavsky. Cauley said he has become one of Bader’s main training partners since he started training at Power in Arizona. With Cauley and Bader both hailing from Reno, Nevada, the two hit it off.
“As I’ve gotten better over the past few years, I’ve really become his main training partner in the gym,” Cauley said. “He’s a great mentor of mine. We definitely have a little give and take. I provide a good look for him in the gym, and we really feed off each other.”
Cauley said Bader’s best strengths are making the fight happen where he wants it to, good footwork, and unpredictably blending his striking and wrestling.
“That’s some of the main things I’ve tried to work on of [Bader’s] is being unpredictable with the combination of striking and wrestling,” Cauley said.
Cauley said he is happy with Bellator so far and that the promotion has given him some great opportunities.
“They treat their guys pretty well, and they seem to pay guys better than the UFC. As of now, I’m pretty happy with Bellator. The only thing I would really think Bellator is missing is a strong anti-doping policy, kind of like the UFC has. I think that would be good for me and the other guys not on steroids. The plan, for now, is to work my way up the Bellator light heavyweight ranks.”
Cauley’s journey up the ranks goes through Ben Parrish next. Cauley believes he can KO or TKO his opponent but wouldn’t be surprised if Parrish sees the final bell on toughness alone.
“I might have to grit my teeth and win a decision. But I’m planning on fighting aggressively and we’ll see if he holds up. I think I can get him out of there.”
Bellator 273 is set to air on Showtime on Saturday, Jan. 29.