UFC on ESPN+ 58: Erosa vs Peterson - Prediction & Analysis - 02/05/22
Steven Peterson vs Julian Erosa
Steven Peterson (19-9) spoiled 22 year old Chase Hooper's bid at becoming a legit prospect last time out. “Ocho'' has brawled his way for better or worse to a 3-3 UFC record over the past few years. The ultra durable striker out of Fortis MMA looks to make it 3 in a row this Saturday. It should be noted that he missed weight last time around against Hooper so keep an eye on the weigh-ins this week.
Julian Erosa (26-9) has had a bit of a roller coaster ride for his pro career. He started out on the Ultimate Fighter back in 2015 where he came up short but still managed to net a contract. After a debut loss he was let go and went back to the regional circuit where he went 6-2. This got him a call for the Contender Series where he knocked out Jammal Emmers to ink another UFC contract. He then lost his first three UFC fights (getting finished in two of them) and got released again.
Just like before, he went back to work on the regional circuit. Opportunity would knock quicker this time as he got the call to be a short notice replacement against Sean Woodsen. He made the most out of this shot by finishing Woodsen via D’arce choke and secured a performance of the night bonus. His second stint has gone a bit better, scoring two more finishes with one KO defeat sandwiched between them. Most recently, setting up another beauty D’Arce choke submission versus high action Canadian, Charles Jourdain.
“Juicy J” will hold 3 inches of height and 4 inches of reach over Peterson.
How They Match Up
Man, just watching back through some of Erosa’s fights and the guy is must-see tv. His last fight in particular against Jourdain, I like that he came out fully confident ready to throw down. The reason that is important is because he got absolutely blasted a few months prior inside the first couple minutes against Choi, which speaks volumes about his mental state. But back to the Jourdain fight - he really showcased some veteran savviness by making adjustments in that third round. The first two rounds were an absolute war and it would have been incredibly difficult to score one way the other. Instead of engaging in the usual path most take by continuing to exchange like crazy en route to fight of the night (and potential split decision), he switched it up and started grappling. The end result was a beautiful D’Arce joke that started standing and took Jourdain off guard.
Make no mistake though, the man’s chin has been checked many, many times. He either gets completely put out, or he has to fight his way back in after flash knock downs (which happens in most of his fights).
Steven Peterson by contrast will hold a considerable edge in durability as the last time he was finished was back in 2013. He struggled against the rangey/awkward fighters in Luis Pena and Alex Caceres but made the adjustments to beat the lite version of this archetype in Chase Hooper. What bothered me about that last fight however is his corner was giving him strict advice on avoiding certain grappling exchanges but Peterson completely disregarded it. It worked out for him anyway but that could be a red flag.
In the fight before that, he was getting soundly outstruck by Martin Bravo before scoring an awesome KO when both fighters attempted spinning backfists. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, it’s great. He also has been known to mix in some takedown attempts as he's scored at least one in all of his UFC fights except the Bravo fight.
I don’t think the grappling is going to come into play though, at least in Peterson’s favour anyway. Erosa has never been submitted and has 12 pro submissions on his record. So that really leaves the striking battle which I think Erosa should be able to get the better of the exchanges through his edges in speed and technique. However, if he gets too brawl-y then that’s going to play right into Peterson’s wheelhouse. “Ocho” can easily rely on his durability to eat some shots in order to deliver a kill blow to Erosa’s fragile chin. Admittedly, this seems like the type of spot in Erosa's career trajectory where he will get fully separated from consciousness. But I'm hoping that the worst he gets is one of his usual knockdowns. And I've seen him come back enough times from those to still get the win. This has easily been the funnest fight to research on the card and I hope the fight itself lives up to it’s potential between these two action fighters. A Peterson KO will not surprise me at all but give me “Juicy J” to edge him out by decision.