R1: Rickels comes out stalking with punches and clinch attacks, which Fischer manages to evade. Fischer grabs the clinch, quickly lets go and plugs in a short left uppercut. Fischer with more punches and a knee. Rickels returns fire with a right-hand-heavy combo. Fischer comes back with a nice stiff right that gets through.
Rickels throws a pair of charging 1-2-3's; Fischer clinches to stop the first but eats much of the second. Fischer lets his hands go and follows up with a clinch that Rickels shoves off. We have a fast pace: Rickels is throwing less but heavier and Fischer is counter-punching with a higher volume. Clean jab from Fischer. Rickels tacks on a 1-2 after another charging 3-piece that drive Fischer back. They clinch momentarily. Rickels wades in with more heavy leather -- he might be looking a tad slower on the release of his punches and he loses his balance on a combo, potentially indicating some fatigue. He nullifies a Fischer takedown attempt from the clinch. 10-10 for a dead-even round: Fischer landed a higher volume but Rickels' shots were clearly more effective.
R2: They clinch on the fence early and trade spots by circling each other off. They break and Rickels head-hunts with his right hand again; Fischer counters with a body kick. Rickels catches Fischer off guard and hits a double leg into Fischer's closed guard. Good head and posture control from Fischer, who swivels for an armbar. Rickels bases down hard and hand-fights to break the hold, then pins the knee to pass to half guard.
Rickels goes for the guillotine pass to mount but Fischer explodes at the right moment and sweeps him. Rickels tries to isolate an arm from closed guard but settles for an escape when Fischer defends. Fischer stays on him and presses him on the fence while seeking a double leg. 10-10 for an even round where neither out-performed the other.
R3: They trade early and Rickels surprisingly shows a pretty nasty cut over his left eye. Fischer pursues another double and, though slightly assisted by a quick fence grab, Rickels reverses the position and rains down big punches from the top. Rickels steps over with the kimura grip and starts to wrench the hold but Fischer stays patient and defends well. Rickels bases down on top and traps Fischer's arm in arm-triangle position, using it to mount.
He bails on the choke but postures up and hammers down punishment from the full mount. Fischer gives up his back for respite and wills his way out of a deep rear-naked choke. He spins back into guard and Rickels beautifully transitions to an armbar. Again, Fischer shows great composure and technique to get out of it and the horn sounds. Counter to outdated custom, I'll give Rickels a 10-8 for dominating more than the last half of the round. He landed meaningful ground-and-pound and threatened with 4 consecutive submission attempts. I have it 30-28 for Rickels.
All 3 judges see it 30-27 for David Rickels, who defeats Jason Fischer by unanimous decision.