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Killer Bee in South Dakota: Brian Peterson Ready for LFA 64

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LFA 64 Brian Peterson

by Matt Lo Cascio

A killer bee has landed in South Dakota, and beware — it’s a big one. MTC’s Brian “Killer Bee” Peterson will fight Ryan Debelak at LFA 64 Friday night in Sioux Falls. You can see the fight live on AXStv.

It’s a different fight week for Peterson. This is the longest he has traveled to compete. He’s always been able to sleep in his own bed before weigh-ins and fight night. He’s fighting for a bigger promotion and he’ll do it live on AXStv.

“The only thing that changes is a flight is added to the schedule,” Peterson told Chicago’s MMA. “I will need to cut a few pounds on the road which makes things a little different, but I don’t foresee any unexpected difficulties. I don’t maintain an extremely regimented diet, which will make things easier on the road. I’m guessing there will be some media obligations when we get there. We’ll do the official weigh-in Thursday afternoon and come back later for the Facebook weigh-in. Then I fight on Friday. I’ll get on the plane on Saturday afternoon and be back in Chicago around 5 p.m.”

Peterson won’t hang around to see the South Dakota sites. He’s got a prom to attend on Saturday night. He serves as the assistant principal at a local high school and wants to be back in time to chaperone the event. I’ve had the privilege of calling many of Peterson’s fights for the XFO and analyst Mike Finch and I always joke that Peterson’s students must be the most well-behaved in the nation.

But Peterson isn’t sweating the fight week changes. “The stress associated with this is minimal. The only concerns I have is finding a place to train while I am there, cutting the last few pounds, and getting to a grocery store to purchase food. Outside of that, it doesn’t stress me at all.”

XFO 60 Brian Peterson

Brian Peterson finished Dan Almario to get the win in his pro debut at XFO 60. (Photo Credit: XFO/Michelle Keim)

Peterson has taken a fast track to the pro game and he heads to South Dakota with an unblemished record of 3-0. He made his amateur debut at the XFO Outdoor War in 2015, turned pro in 2017, and now finds himself fighting on national TV Friday night. It doesn’t mean there weren’t bumps in the road. Peterson won his pro debut at XFO 60 and since then has had four canceled fights. He also had an opportunity to fight for a big promotion but that fell through. Imagine training for months only to get a call saying your fight is off. It’s maddening to have it happen once. Peterson has had it happen four times in less than two years.

“The most difficult thing about missing fights is related to my age,” Peterson said. “The clock is ticking away. I need to rack up wins in a short time frame in order to reach my goal of earning a contract in the UFC. Outside of that, I look at this as a time to increase my skill level. Although I have not been in the cage in over a year, I feel that my skill level has increased significantly. I took this opportunity to improve all aspects of my game. As always, cancellations are a part of this game. and is completely out of my control. The key is to not get frustrated and look at it as an opportunity to sharpen the stone.”

Interview a fighter and they will always tell you they’ve been working on things and they will be their best version yet in their next fight. I don’t always believe that, but I do when Peterson says it. I’ve seen it in every fight since he arrived on the ammy scene. He’s got amazing coaches in Alex Trujillo and Barry Hoppen and a slew of savages to train with at MTC. Go check out their Instagram. They’re going to have to start shooting pics from across the street to get everyone in the shot. He’s always evolving and adding to his game.

“We saw him evolve before our very eyes in the XFO,” said XFO analyst Mike Finch. “As an amateur, he was a wrestler with leg kicks, but these weren’t any leg kicks. 265 pounds of fury slamming into your thigh. I doubt any of the fighters he faced as an amateur were doing much walking the next day. Now he has so many more tools in his game. It’s a testament to his team and his drive and determination that he could pick up the sport in his 30’s and still rise to compete at this level. He had wars, he had losses, he had setbacks, but he continued to learn and grow and come back stronger. I deeply admire that persistence. Peterson is a test for any heavyweight, and I’m sure we’ll see a display of his tremendous willpower on Saturday night.”

Brian Peterson flying knee at XFO 60

Brian Peterson lifts off to deliver a flying knee at XFO 60. (Photo Credit: Rudolph Comeaux/RCP)

I’ve been fortunate to cover local MMA for over ten years and have called fights for the XFO for four years. The privilege of sitting cageside all these years — besides the aroma of the fighters and the occasional blood splatter on my notes — has been hearing a multitude of different coaching styles from the corners. I told Peterson I often feel sorry for the “independent” fighter who has his bro yelling “Don’t you tap!!” 20 times in a row. I’ve also seen pro fighters cornering fighters but they barely breathe because they are spitting out so much instruction to their fighters. I have no doubt their fighters tune them out within the first minute of round one.

Trujillo and Hoppen give patient, specific instruction and it’s obvious that their fighters listen and achieve success in doing so. Peterson has been the beneficiary of that style.

“I recently read an article by John Danaher about giving specific feedback when coaching. Not just “do something” but breaking it down further — right hand on the hip, pass to your left, underhook with the left hand. It’s these specifics that give us another edge in that cage. The coaching you witness on fight nights is the exact same coaching we receive in the gym. Barry is a mad scientist when it comes to striking, developing an individualized plan for all the fighters he works with. I believe that his addition to MTC has made the fighters coming out of the gym more dynamic as in years past. Fighters out of MTC have always been known for being aggressive wrestlers with a pace that most could not match. We all still have that, but now we added this dynamic striking which only strengthens the other components. Midwest Training Center is definitely one of the top gyms is in the Midwest and I believe that very soon we will be a nationally recognized gym.”

Ryan Debelak is Peterson’s opponent at LFA 64, and he will have both a height and reach advantage. This is nothing new for Peterson, as he consistently works with heavyweights Daniel James and Marko Vukicevic at MTC. Both fighters stand over 6’6″ and both are longer than Debelak. I also noted that Debelak has been finished in all four of his losses.

“Working with Daniel and now Marko, reach isn’t something that intimidates or messes with me,” Peterson said. “I am aware that he has been finished, but I believe no matter who the opponent, I have the ability to finish the fight both on our feet or on the ground. On the feet, I have ended fight not only with punches but also with leg kicks — something that not many can say. As far as wrestling and grappling are concerned, I do have skills which I have not displayed at this point. However, I do have the ability to take an opponent down and submit them.”

The work is done. The plane has landed and Peterson and team are in South Dakota. The only thing left is the fun part — the fight on Friday night.

“I look forward to representing local MMA as I continue to ascend the levels in this tremendous sport. Mixed Martial Arts has literally saved my life and given me such a positive outlook on life as a whole. Thank you to all who have been a part of this journey as everybody has played a role in my success.”

Watch Peterson fight at LFA 64 on AXStv at 8 p.m. Chicago time. 

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About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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