Coach Peter Straub of ETC Denver had his first professional MMA fight on April 25th at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland. Sparta Combat League’s sold-out event was part of the Army vs. Marines (AVM) series, which is held in honor of our military forces. SCL uses the event to raise money for local military families. The AVM fight cards originally featured matches between former or active military personnel, but after six years of putting on the event, they’ve run low on local military match-ups. Now, non-military fighters have stepped in to fight in honor of veterans. Peter fought in honor of US Army Combat Veteran and Purple Heart recipient Spencer Milo. Milo is a manager at Hire Heroes USA, an organization that helps place vets in the work force and get back into civilian life.
Peter’s fighting background is somewhat unconventional. He first started training in Jiu Jitsu almost seven years ago, after taking an amateur MMA fight without any formal training. Though he won the fight, it made him realize how much he didn’t know. His coworker at the time, Professor Eliot Marshall, invited him to train at Easton. Professor Marshall told Peter he must win a national BJJ tournament at purple belt, and a few kickboxing fights before he could start training and fighting MMA. He had eight amateur MMA fights before his professional debut, with a record of 6-2.
Coming off of a 56-second win in February, Peter had a short, but intense training camp for his pro debut. He trains at ETC Denver for BJJ and MMA, kickboxing, boxing, and mitt work with Professor Christian Allen at High Altitude and Coach Vinnie Lopez at Vital Strength and Fitness. He wrestles and spars with Elevation Fight Team under Coach Leister Bowling at Muscle Pharm, and does strength and conditioning under Coaches Loren Landow and Eric Telly at Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance.
Reflecting on his performance, Peter says, “This was the best I’ve felt going into a fight. Each time I feel a little more calm and confident. I was able to stay very relaxed and react to more cues than ever before.” Knowing that his opponent Cruz Soltero comes from a family of kickboxers, Peter knew that Soltero’s goal would be to keep the fight standing, and look for a quick knockout. In order to play to his own strengths, Peter went for a double-leg takedown in the first round. Once on the ground, he worked punches and elbows from the guard until he felt Soltero running out of gas. He took Soltero’s back to set up a rear naked choke, finishing the fight about three minutes into the first round.
Peter is very grateful to his supporters, and he says, “Having so many family members, friends, students, and fans in the building made for such a memorable experience. I was able to feed off their energy and use it to propel me to my best performance yet.” After taking a week off, he is back to his regular training routine, and is looking forward to setting up another fight with SCL.