Coming off of two losses in in Bellator in 2016, welterweight up and comer Jeremie Holloway was in need of a win heading into his first bout of 2017.
Against boxer-turned-MMA fighter Mike Jackson in January at XKO 34, Holloway was able to get the win and have an overall strong performance to get himself back on track.
“That was the kind of fight where I didn’t know how to take the guy,” Holloway told MMAWeekly.com. “(Jackson’s) MMA record wasn’t too credible, but his boxing record had him listed at 3-0, so the show was really high on him.
“I didn’t know what expect, but I had been trying to get on a card in Dallas since I moved to Texas last year, so I knew I wasn’t walking away without the W. He played it very nonchalant, and he felt like he was in control at times until he had to roll with the punches and accept defeat.”
Prior to the win over Jackson, Holloway had spent nine months waiting to get a fight. During his hiatus, Holloway feels his passion for the sport was the most important thing developed.
“The time off let me notice how far away I had gotten from my strengths,” said Holloway. “It allowed me to work on my skillset, fill some gaps, and focus on my mentality.
“I hadn’t really had that passion that I had in the beginning, but all of a sudden out of nowhere it came to me, and I’m hungry again. I can’t think of anything I want more.”
On Friday in Greenville, S.C., Holloway (8-2) will look to pick up his second win in a row when he takes on veteran Dave Vitkay (18-12-1) in a 170-pound co-main event at Legacy Fighting Alliance 8.
“I know he’s physically strong, and he’s a grappler I hear, but it’s hard to be threatened by a guy who only wants to grab you,” Holloway said of Vitkay.
“I’m looking to strike and keep him at range – which is easier said than done – I know. I’ve studied enough film on him, and I don’t see him trying to do anything than grind me out. I’m not really too threatened by that.”
Having had an opportunity to fight on a bigger stage such as Bellator, Holloway wants to work his way back to that level in 2017 by facing the kind of opposition who can help him get there.
“The main thing for me is beating any guys with momentum; any guy on a winning streak or who is on the UFC’s radar,” said Holloway. “I want to get in contention to be in the Top 10 or Top 5, and be spoken of. After that, I want a world title.”