There is no doubt in the mind of featherweight veteran Steven Peterson’s mind why he lost his January Legacy Fighting Alliance bout to Leandro Higo: speed.
While Peterson was able to handle the fight on the ground, Higo’s hand speed was ultimately what helped him rack up points on the judges’ scorecards and earn a unanimous decision.
“It looks like he had an advantage in the speed department, and that was the story in the fight,” Peterson told MMAWeekly.com. “He was able to beat me to the punch. I seemed to have the advantage in submissions, and was really close to finishing him, but he out-pointed me and definitely out-struck me.”
Peterson sees his loss to Higo as a learning experience, and has since gone back into the gym to retool his striking so he doesn’t face the same fate again in the future.
“I went back to the drawing board and started working on more hand speed and head movement,” said Peterson. “I’m really well-rounded, but I’m not an elite striker at this point. But that just needs a little bit of work, and I’ve been putting in the rounds sparring.”
On Friday in Dallas, Peterson (14-5) was set to take on Angel Huerta, but will now face late replacement Ryan Hollis (12-10) in a 140-pound catchweight feature bout at LFA 16.
“We’re fighting at a catchweight of 140 pounds, so it’s an extra five pounds I have to cut,” Peterson said. “It’s definitely not fun, but it’s doable.
“Angel is very skilled, but when he’s met with adversity, he tends to fold. Hollis is more the opposite. He’s more scrappy, but he’s not that skilled as a mixed martial artist. I see more holes in his game that I can capitalize on, but he’s definitely not going to quit in there, so I’ve got to really take it to him.”
Having suffered a setback against Higo in January, Peterson’s goal does not change, it has merely been delayed.
“My goal for this year is the same as last year: be in the UFC,” said Peterson. “I have been working to get to the UFC my whole career. My overall goal is to be UFC champion.
“I’d say a couple more will definitely do it for me, but a win (on July 14) could get me the call. I know I’m on the radar. I know if I had won the Higo fight, I’d be in. It sucks that I couldn’t get the job done, but it’s caused me to go back and re-evaluate my game and fix my holes. I needed to close that gap before I got to the big show.”