Steven ‘Ocho’ Peterson returned after his ‘Fight of the Night’ split decision loss against Julian Erosa against Brazilian Lucas Alexander in his sophomore effort with the UFC.
Peterson is known for being an all-action, dirty brawling featherweight so his fights are always expected to be wars. After three crazy fights to start the card, fans expected a forth in this one. Lucas had the youth advantage but had never faced anyone as experienced as the 32-year old Peterson, fighting in his 30th pro fight, before.
The home crowd was behind Peterson going into this one as he fights out of Texas himself. He was fourth Texan to compete on the night and if he could get a win the state would maintain its undefeated record as the card progressed. Two other Texans had beaten Brazilians earlier on the night, which is another trend Peterson looked to continue.
After the glove touch Peterson feinted a takedown and ate a leg kick. Alexander had a taller, leaner, more muscled frame than Peterson and appeared to have a large speed and power advantage early as he pressed forward behind the threat of his long legs, which ate up the legs of Peterson. Early on Peterson was unable to get the fight into the grittier style of fight, dirty boxing and wearing down his opponent, that he prefers. Alexander continued to kick, changing levels between legs and body and Peterson barely landed anything.
The range control of Alexander was excellent and he countered Peterson every time the Texan came rushing forward, usually chin-first with wild shots. Peterson did get him on the back foot but still ate far more strikes as Lucas switched to all three levels and used his punches more. Despite Alexander losing due to grappling in his UFC debut, Peterson did not appear to threaten any level changes; perhaps he just could not get into range for them. Alexander suddenly a rushing forward Peterson to his butt right at the buzzer, but he appeared more off-balance than hurt.
Peterson began round two by eating more low kicks to his left leg, it appeared to be starting to collapse so he switched to southpaw, but only temporarily. Alexander gave his back up for a second when he spun, but he defended the takedown attempt from Steven successfully. Peterson soon switched stances again. Alexander switched stances as a matter of routine, giving different looks and slamming more leg kicks whenever possible. Peterson’s back was up against the fence now, completely on the defensive and in southpaw.
This opened up more round kicks upstairs for Alexander; although they did not get past the guard, those do not feel good to take on the arm. Alexander touched Peterson’s chin with a flying knee at one point, but was mostly calm, cool, and collected as the Brazilian dismantled his American foe.
With eighty seconds left in the round Peterson fell to the ground as he ate a punch, but he was rushing forward and somewhat diving for a takedown at the time so it seemed to not be a clean knockdown. Alexander welcomed him back to the feet. The unofficial strike count at that point was listed as 51 to 16 over the course of the fight in favor of Lucas Alexander. He continued to stalk and pick apart Peterson for the rest of the round as the crowd got restless due to the calm, technical nature of the fight after three high paced bouts before it; their guy losing did not help either.
Alexander kept kicking and turned up the pace a bit early in round three with powerful body kicks and punching combinations. Meanwhile the commentary discussed a potential broken left hand of Alexander that they heard about before the round started. A front kick from Peterson directly punted Lucas in the cup, as hard and clean of a cup shot as has ever been seen. Lucas shook it out for just under a minute before getting back to work; Peterson gestured his apologies.
Lucas landed a head kick as Peterson ran forward but Peterson got onto the single leg ninety seconds into the round. He could not drag Alexander off of the fence but he kept his grip. As Peterson twisted to get the takedown he fell to his back and Alexander got on top to land ground and pound. Lucas then stood up and did an axe kick to the grounded Peterson which must have been intended for the body but hit the head. Referee Jacob Montalvo did nothing except gently warn him. Peterson seemed to say, “Dude, come on,” but nothing happened and Alexander let him up to the feet.
The crowd got restless as the pace slowed again, though Peterson started to go forward and landed more strikes. Alexander was mostly on the defensive save for a few kicks, one of which wobbled the leg of Peterson, who went back to southpaw. With forty-five seconds left in the round Alexander dropped his foe with a counter punch and then landed an axe kick to the body before letting Peterson up. He landed a clean counter knee when Peterson came forward but Peterson did not go down and kept rushing forward for the last twenty seconds to the bell, a great display of heart.
The two warriors knelt before each other after the bell rang, with their arms around each others necks, seemingly showing respect and bonding over their shared experience at war in the cage. When Bruce Buffer read the decision there was no doubt as Lucas Alexander got 30-27 scorecards from all judges for his highly technical and intelligent performance which won him his first UFC win. In his post-fight interview Lucas told the world the tragic story of a teammate who passed away due to a brain injury, leaving behind a wife and multiple kids. Alexander asked anyone who could to go to his Instagram bio and find the GoFundMe to donate to his family to help them.
Then, Steven Peterson put his gloves down on the octagon floor in his home state, saying he put everything he had into fighting, but he was now going to put it all into coaching and his new fight promotion. He got a send off in his home state and left it with one last message, “Chase your dreams.”
Official Result: Lucas Alexander def. Steven Peterson by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)