Just In Despite last loss, Scott Holtzman still believes he belongs in upper echelon of UFC lightweight division MMA Life
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NEWARK, N.J. – Scott Holtzman was just starting to gain some momentum in the lightweight division before falling short to Nik Lentz.
Despite losing that fight, Holtzman believes he let it slip through his fingers. It was ultimately Lentz’s grappling that got it done, but “Hot Sauce” did not go down without a fight.
“You don’t ever want to make excuses – you’ve got 15 minutes to perform – but I gave it away, man,” Holtzman told MMA Junkie. “That’s a winnable fight, should have won that. Big opportunity for my career, and I kind of pissed it away, but what can you do? As we say in Tennessee, you just hop back on the horse and ride, so it’s a winnable fight for me. I belong up there, so all I can do it look forward to the next one, and I’m excited.”
Holtzman has shown heart and grit in all his performances in the octagon, which is why he thinks he can hang with the top guys. A few tactical errors have cost him some of those fights, even when he was able to inflict visible damage on his opponents.
“In any of my three losses, I’ve never been shut out,” Holtzman said. “I’ve never been blown out of the water or totally outclassed, you know? I’ve taken rounds, I’ve hurt all those guys. All three of those losses, they ended up at the hospital afterwards, so I belong up here, man.
“I belong up there with that top echelon of guys – I still believe that, and with Nick, I think everybody knows, if there are four rounds, he looked like he’d been hit by a bus afterwards and he didn’t want anymore. So he was hanging on, and where I come from, if you go to the hospital afterwards, the other guy won.”
Holtzman (12-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) takes on Dong Hyun Ma (16-9-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) this Saturday at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., in a UFC on ESPN 5 fight that he admits he wasn’t initially too amped about. After watching some tape, he refreshed his memory and realized he’s getting in there with a very game opponent.
“It kind of caught me off guard a little bit,” Holtzman said on the matchup. “We’re always looking ahead, but you know, I was coming off a loss, so it was tough, but when I started looking at him and looked back through past fights and obviously I remembered him – fight of the year a couple of years ago – I was like, ‘All right, this is an exciting style matchup.’
“There’s going to be some highlight-reel stuff in here, and some good exchanges and all that, so I’m happy with it.”
Of course, highlight-reel moments are best when your hand is still raised at the end. Holtzman thinks he just needs to go out there with a more calculated and composed approach to come out on the winning side.
“I think the crowd knows that when I fight, I’m going to take some risks,” Holtzman said. “I’m going to throw some big shots. I’m going to try and end the fight, and at any given moment I could, so sometimes that can lead to me getting carried away. Sometimes I’m just a dog and I like to come forward, so sometimes I’ve got to rein myself in a bit, and I think that’s part of it.”
Ma has been in some slugfests, and Holtzman knows he needs to be cautious. He does, however, believe that he holds the advantages everywhere, and he looks to impose his will.
“I think I hold the advantage just overall,” Holtzman said. “I think even MMA, the entire game, and blending everything together, all the sports, I think I’m way better. Striking, he’s super dangerous man – you’ve got to be careful. You’ve seen him; he’s flatlined a few guys and, obviously, he’s not scared either. He’ll stand in the pocket and throw, and it’s impressive and it’s fun and he hits hard, so I think my pace and my conditioning overall just entire game. I got to put the whole game on him.”
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