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MMA rookie not short on swagger

Oliveri slated to appear on Cage Fight 9 card; Peters to fight for belt

Pittston native Gary Peters is set to fight for the Cage Fight Series Welterweight Amateur title on Friday night at Cage Fight 9.

Sean Oliveri will make his mixed martial arts amateur debut on Friday night at Northeast MMA’s Cage Fight 9 at the Lackawanna County Student Union. But despite it being his first fight, Oliveri has the swagger of a seasoned veteran.

“I have been doing a lot of cardio, striking and everything. I don’t have just one strength. My strength is everything,” Oliveri said. “I am not bad at anything and I think it will really show in the cage.”

The Old Forge graduate is as excited as ever to get into the cage at the former Scranton CYC and has just one expectation - win.

“I’m really, really excited to get in the cage next week,” Oliveri said in a phone interview. “The only expectation I have is to win.”

In order to come out on top in his debut, he will have to beat a familiar foe in Terry Evans. The two men used to work together and now they will go toe-to-toe with each other in the cage.

The fight also brings with it and aspect not seen before in the local Cage Fight series – the Old Forge-Riverside rivalry.

“I went to Old Forge and he went to Riverside, so it’s a little rivalry,” Oliveri said with a chuckle. “I used to work with him at Mariotti (Building Products). I am looking really forward to it. He said he is going to clean me up, but I don’t need to talk trash, I’ll do my talking in the cage.”

If Oliveri plans on doing his talking in the cage, he will have to conquer the strong grappling abilities of Evans.

“I can keep him standing, but if it goes to the ground I can do my thing on the ground too,” Oliveri said. “You’ll see my ground moves in the fight if he even gets me to the ground.”

Oliveri got his start in the sport like many others, by seeing it on television. However, the thought of being able to fight and not get in trouble for it is intriguing for Oliveri.

“I love to watch it on TV. I have always been in little scraps on the street, I love to duke it out, so I figured I my as well put it in the cage,” Oliveri said. “You can’t get in trouble for fighting in the cage.”

Oliveri has been training for this moment for two years and now it is less than a week away.

“I’m so happy. I have been waiting to fight for two years now. I wanted to wait until I was ready and I feel I am more than ready right now,” Oliveri said. “I just can’t wait to get into the fight, that’s all I can say. I train with team TATU. It helped me out a lot. I have been training with the best fighters and I feel that has made me so much stronger.”

In addition to Oliveri, a native of Greater Pittston also gets into the cage on Friday night. However, this is far from his first time.

Gary Peters will step into the cage for his first shot at the amateur welterweight title. His opponent will be Dave Spadell Jr. of Hazleton.

If Peters walks away from the octagon with a win this Friday night, the next step is to turn professional. But, he doesn’t feel this fight is a make or break fight in terms of his mixed martial arts career.

“I don’t know about a make or break fight. The guy I am fighting is a high contender considering it is for the title,” Peters said. “The last few guys I have fought have been pretty good and some even competed for titles. I keep drawing guys that are contenders. I am not too worried about that I just enjoy training. The only time I would stop fighting is if I stop enjoying it.”

Peters believes this fight will be much like the previous three when it comes to preparation. It is not often he enters the cage with a southpaw, but lately they are all he has seen. He will use the comfort he has accumulated along with his developing boxing skills to try and defeat his opponent on Friday night.

“It’s funny, because he is a southpaw and the last two guys I have fought have been southpaws as well. A lot of guys have trouble fighting a southpaw, because they don’t see them as often, but I have been lucky enough to fight so many of them. This is my third fight in a row against a southpaw, so I sort of feel more comfortable boxing with the guys that just box,” Peters said. “I do boxing separate from MMA training. I know if I can hang with guys who just focus on boxing, I will be alright when it comes to fighting guys who have cross trained.”

If Peters wins on Friday night, he will rid himself of the amateur status.

“We are going to have to see how this fight goes and kind of go from there. This will be a good test for me to see where I am,” Peters said. “If I win this fight I will absolutely go pro.”

MMA professional Kris “The Savage” McCray highlights the Cage Fight 9 Card with his Main Event fight against Gemilaye “Baby Hercules” Adkins. West Scranton’s Dave Morgan will take on Evan Velez in another professional bout, and local pros Evan “Coach” Bates and John “Johnny Vegas” Flock are also scheduled to appear.

Tickets are available online at www.pacagefight.com, and locally at Nick’s by the Tracks, Exeter; Dooley’s Pub, Old Forge’ and Max Performance Supplements, Scranton.

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