McGuire: LFA 1- New Beginnings

The Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) is a leading developmental promotion to the UFC.

College football is to the NFL what the LFA is to the UFC and their inaugural event delivered 16 total fights and 12 finishes—an overwhelming majority of the card (75 percent.) As much as fans may like flashy endings, they also appreciated the full-length “war of attrition” the main event was predicted to be.

Fans were on their feet inside The Bomb Factory of Dallas, Texas following a first round submission win for Bobby Butler in the first televised LFA bout, a sub for former math teacher Cameron Miller in just under half a minute, and a TKO triumph for Team Alpha Male’s highly touted Cynthia Calvillo. Then, out stepped the men on the marquee in Peterson in Higo—both looking for the 135-pound divisional title.

Peterson starts off like a bat out of hell and has “Pitbull” moving back early. He connects first with an inside leg kick but is kept at bay as Higo’s right hand darts toward him. Higo whiffs on a left hook as Peterson steps in for another leg kick. “Ocho” has been leaving his left side open and a right jab from the Pitbull Brothers student in Higo is successful with a minute and a half gone from the clock. He lands another two-punch combo and they clinch against the fence.

The Brazilian gets the better of the local favorite and exits the clinch with a left hook-straight right hand. Peterson is only connecting with his kicks so far while taking two or three punches to give one. The next left hook sends Peterson scrambling back with a cut on the nose and his dance partner landing at will. Peterson slips momentarily and then it’s back to dirty boxing. When Higo has the space, he shoots in for a takedown and is caught in a surprising standing guillotine choke. They trade strikes in the final seconds before returning to their corners.

Neither man wastes any time getting back to striking in the second round with Higo returning to his favored left hook before landing a handful to Peterson’s ribs. Higo selects uppercut-hook once more and it’s money. Higo shoots a second time, once again putting himself in danger of being in a Peterson choke with just over two minutes left, but he’s wrapped up against the cage before anything can materialize. The Muay Thai clinch works for Peterson as he connects with knees and a right hand going into the third stanza.

The down Peterson steps into two jabs in the first thirty seconds. He’s planted on his backside and his face continues to get messy as he rises to his feet again. The Texan pushes leather into Higo’s face with a return jab when they flurry later in the round, but the knockdown seems to have cemented Higo firmly up 3-0. A double-leg finally serves its purpose as Peterson is mounted and pounded leading to the sound of the horn.

This time it’s Peterson with a double-leg as he becomes a metaphorical backpack on his opponent thanks to a figure-four body lock, looking for a standing rear-naked choke that takes up almost exactly half of the fourth round. The official separates the now standing fighters and “Ocho” suffers the sting of another uppercut. He goes wild with a spinning back fist and Higo responds with a jumping knee. Higo takes a spinning back kick to the liver in the last minute but gets Peterson’s back in the process. Nothing results and this contest is headed to the final round. 

Higo fires off volume strikes that are simply increasing the gap between both men. Peterson looks for a takedown but is stuffed and has any further efforts nullified when the referee steps in again to force separation. Higo catches a leg over half way through the round and Peterson is forced to his back. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt chooses to keep things on the feet with the continuing right-handed shots leading him to a championship. Peterson has one last shot at a guillotine, but Higo escapes easily.

“The Man of Steel” looks for a desperate jumping knee, but Higo works his way into top position. Peterson blasts him with a final series of elbows to end the fight.

Leandro Higo def. Steven Peterson for the inaugural LFA bantamweight world championship via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)

During his victory celebration, Higo signs a mock UFC contract to let everyone know exactly what’s on his mind. LFA 2 takes place on January 20 from Prior Lake, Minnesota beginning at 8 p.m. CST on AXS TV.

The Rest of the Card

  • Charles Williams def. Austin Lingo via KO/TKO at 0:18 of MMA (Post-Main Event)
  • Rashad Coulter def. Larry Hopkins via KO/TKO at 0:38 of Round 1 (Post-Main Event)
  • Damon Jackson def. Charles Cheeks III via Rear-Naked at 1:24 of Round 2
  • Eli Tamez def. Ulyses Aguila via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Cynthia Calvillo def. Montana Stewart via TKO at 2:54 of Round 3
  • Cameron Miller def. Oscar Ramirez via Rear-Naked Choke Round at 0:29 of Round 1
  • Sean Holden def. Armando Servin via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Bobby Butler def. Jessie Vasquez via Neck Crank at 4:36 of Round 1
  • Victor Oreamuno def. Jesse Nelson via TKO at 1:55 of Round 3
  • Fernando Salas def. Josh Nealy via Armbar at 1:00 of Round 1
  • Victor Altamirano def. Marvincent Williams via Triangle Choke at 0:48 of Round 2
  • Kenneth Gross def. Elijah Johns via TKO at 1:44 of Round 2
  • Alex Mejia def. Anthony Gaut via Rear-Naked Choke at 2:20 of Round 1
  • Austin Henry def. Victor Pasqual via Rear-Naked Choke at 2:50 of Round 3 
  • Steven Orozco def. Ricardo Martinez via Unanimous Decision (Score Unknown)