On Saturday, June 12th, we have a spectacular event in UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori. We have been granted a night with two title bouts in the rematches between Middleweights Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori and Flyweights Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno. The entire card is stacked between the early prelims and the main card with many epic fights to look forward to, but there’s one fight in particular I’ve been eyeing that I believe deserves some more attention. Read below for an early preview of Chase Hooper vs. Steven Peterson.
Chase Hooper vs. Steven Peterson
UFC Featherweight Bout – Early Preliminary Card
Saturday, June 12, 2021 – 09:35 PM EDT at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona
Chase “the Teenage Dream” Hooper
Chase Hooper is a rising prospect in the UFC at the age of 21 years old and holds the record as the youngest fighter signed by the UFC. He made his UFC debut in December 2019 against Daniel Teymur and won via TKO in the first round. He is currently 2-1 in the UFC with his only loss (in the UFC and overall) against Alex Caceres via unanimous decision. His most recent bout was against Peter Barrett at UFC 256 - he won via submission (heel hook) in the third round. After going professional in 2017, he won his first title in 2018 at the age of 18 years old as a FC Featherweight Champion against Drew Brokenshire. Of his accomplishments, he has achieved: 2016 BJJ Pan American Juvenile Middleweight Champion, 2016 BJJ Pan American Juvenile Absolute Runner-Up, Rumble on the Ridge Amateur Featherweight Champion, and FC Featherweight Champion.
Steven “Ocho” Peterson
Steven Peterson has been competing professionally in combat sports since 2010. Before signing with the UFC in 2018, Peterson competed for Bellator Fighting Championship, Xtreme Knockout, and the Legacy Fighting Alliance. He currently has fought in only 5 bouts in the UFC where he is 2-3 with losses against Brandon Davis, Luis Pena, and Alex Caceres. In his most recent bout against Martin Bravo at UFC Fight Night 159, he won via KO in the second round - he was awarded Performance of the Night due to his perfect spinning backfist knockout. Of his other MMA accomplishments, he has achieved: UFC Fight of the Night vs. Brandon Davis and Legacy FC Bantamweight Title.
I can understand why Chase Hooper is the current underdog in this matchup; he is a young and still rising prospect that has room to grow and learn. However, Hooper is an extremely talented fighter for his age. Although he has not fought since December 2020 at UFC 256, he has been active with his training. Recently, he has been training at Upstate Karate with Wonderboy Thompson and his team working on the fundamentals of his striking skills.
Steven Peterson has not fought since 2019 after his Performance of the Night award against Martin Bravo. After that fight, he had complications with his arm and had to get surgery. He then had a 16 month recovery plan in which he now feels “rejuvenated”. In February 2021, Peterson was supposed to compete against Seung Woo Choi, however, he had to pull out of the fight due to COVID-19. He said his symptoms consisted of loss of scent and had some complications with his lungs - he also suffers from asthma so he said in an interview that his covid symptoms were “more of a mental game”. Recently, Peterson has been training with many fighters: Steven Nguyen, Uriah Hall, and more.
Hooper thrives off of aggression from his opponents; he stated in an interview that it is easier for him to win when his opponent tries to finish a fight early because “those types of guys leave themselves open”. With that being said, Peterson stated “I am taking Chase Hooper out in round 1”. This leaves me open with a lot of questions: will Peterson have the skills and ability after his recovery to finish Hooper who has never been knocked out or submitted yet in his entire professional career (11 bouts)? Or is Hooper the more well-rounded fighter that can take advantage of his bigger height and reach combined with his near-flawless skills?
In this matchup, Hooper will in fact have the height and reach advantage, however, what worries me is his ability of distance management. In his previous bouts, he always fought against opponents similar to his size. Another issue that I worry about with Hooper is the pace of the fight. If Peterson has control of the pace, then Hooper may struggle just like how he did at first with Peter Barrett. What amazes me though is his cardio; in his bout against Barrett, he was able to submit Barrett in the third round via heel hook.
What I worry about with Peterson is his time away from the octagon. He has been training with many talented fighters, however, I worry about his lungs and his recovery after COVID-19. That combined with his recovery from his surgery throws question marks up in the air for me as well.
Overall, Hooper also should be able to utilize his perfected striking and wrestling skills after training with Stephen Thompson. Peterson thrives off of a crowd, and since he has been away for so long, this could be another possible fight of the night between these two.
In this matchup, Hooper is the fresher, healthier, and more well-rounded fighter. Coming out with dog-odds is quite attractive. So, with all of that said, I am siding with the rising prospect in Chase Hooper.
UFC 263 Main Card
- Middleweight bout: Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori (Main Event)
- Flyweight bout: Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno (Co-Main)
- Welterweight bout: Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz
- Welterweight bout: Demian Maia vs. Belal Muhammad
- Light heavyweight bout: Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill
*The pick reflects the line when the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, do not forget to refer to our live odds.