Alex Caceres: UFC on ESPN 4 win had 'a defining moment in all of my career'
SAN ANTONIO – It’s not often that a fighter will admit he almost gave up, but a candid Alex Caceres was able to battle through.
Injuring his left hand at the start of his fight vs. Steven Peterson on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 4, Caceres (15-12-1 MMA, 10-10-1 UFC) battled adversity early.
He found himself trying to fend off a choke, a position he’s all too familiar with. With only one hand to fight off the submission attempt, Caceres had a brief lapse where he almost gave up.
With five career losses via rear-naked choke, being in that position was deja-vu for Caceres, who wasn determined not to succumb to the same choke again.
“It was a defining moment in all of my career, like deja-vu,” Caceres said backstage at AT&T Center. “That’s where I’ve been finished the most, was somebody taking my back with that body triangle, with that rear-naked choke, and he was close. I was choking, and it was a defining moment where I got to be honest with you guys, this probably goes through a lot of fighters’ heads, but I’m not trying to cover it up with any false machismo. I wanted at one point to let him have it. It’s already too close, but something else kicked inside of me and said (expletive) this, we’re getting out of this, then I was able to turn my hips, start pushing his elbow, and I just felt like this fight in me kept rising and rising. And I’m like, ‘It’s not going to happen again.'”
And Caceres had only one hand to fight it, as he was struggling with mobility in his hand. Losing his last fight to Kron Gracie via first-round rear-naked choke, he wasn’t about to let the exact same scenario happen again.
“It was weird, you know. I knew what happened. I knew it was a serious thing, but I knew I had to keep fighting,” Caceres said. “This guy is going to keep coming after me. He’s a dangerous guy. He keeps walking forward. He doesn’t stop, no matter how many times I hit him to the body, but I felt a crack. I closed my fist again. I felt a click, and then I ended up tripping up in the first round. He ended up taking my back, and my coaches are yelling fight with two hands, and I’m just fighting with one hand, because I couldn’t close the other one, so it just made it very difficult.”
Peterson was visibly deceived by the decision, but Caceres felt like he got the better of the exchanges. He believes he caused more damage throughout the fight.
“We exchanged a lot of good blows, but I knew I got the better of him every single time and in the combinations,” Caceres said.
“I knew he was just throwing to engage and clinch or engage to takedown. His punches, some of them were landing hard, but decently hard, but it was nothing that made me feel in trouble. He was throwing to close the distance, so I knew when I was going inside that pocket and throwing, I was hurting him.”
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