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UFC Nashville’s Scott Holtzman: ‘fan interaction can play into judging’

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Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman spoke with Bloody Elbow ahead of his UFC Nashville bout with Michael McBride to discuss competing in enemy territory, how the crowd can affect the outcome, and breaks down his upcoming opponent.

MMA Lab lightweight Scott Holtzman is set for a home game at UFC Nashville on April 22, as he takes on a dangerous submission artist in Michael McBride. Before heading home to Tennessee, the 9-2 Holtzman caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss his frequent bookings by the UFC, why he thinks he was snubbed for Fight of the Night at UFC on FOX 22, and what he has in store for UFC Fight Night 108.

Getting booked by the UFC on the regular:

“Every 3 or 4 months is kind of good for the fighting world. The UFC seems to keep me busy. I guess they like me, I don’t know, or I’m exciting, I’m not sure, but some guys only fight once or twice a year. They’re putting me in there whenever I want, so this Tennessee card, I had to be on.”

Performance at UFC on FOX 22 against Josh Emmett:

“Obviously, I made some mistakes, and 1 or 2 mistakes can lose you a fight in the UFC. I think the first round, he didn’t touch me. He put me on my butt twice, but that was it. I popped right back up. He had 2 little brief takedowns, maybe caught a kick on 1, but he didn’t really hurt me or challenge me. I didn’t think he felt strong either.”

“So, the second round, I was like, ‘alright, this is his hometown, this is his crowd. I’m going to embrace it. I’m going to come out and bust his ass right here, and really take the fight to him.’ So, I got a little emotional. I started staying in the pocket a little too long, and gave him some of the things he needed to score points.”

“I got a little emotional, and I think a little tense, so I got worn down a little bit. He scored a couple takedowns when he needed it, and got a knockdown there in the third. He edged me out. I thought it was 1-1 going into the third. He edged me out in the third, so I didn’t have any problem with the decision.”

Do you think Emmett got some SacTown home cookin’ with the decision being unanimous instead of split?

“I think what did play into the decision, was the fact that he had a lot of fans there. He’s a popular guy in that area, obviously it’s his hometown. Well, the times when I was winning the exchanges, or winning the fight, the place was dead silent. When he would do something pretty good, they’d all cheer.”

“I think that plays into the judges, too. He would throw some weird flying knee that wouldn’t come close to hitting me, and the crowd would go crazy. I was like, ‘what? that didn’t even come close to me. What is everyone cheering for?’ I think that plays into the judges, for sure, but whether he got some home cooking, I don’t know. I think he edged me out, but not by much, man. Not by much. He ended up in the hospital after, not me.”

Getting snubbed for Fight of the Night at UFC on FOX 22:

“I guess they do like a little round table, good ol’ boys voting system; Dana [White] and Sean Shelby, and now Mick Maynard. Joe Silva was involved in that because he was still there in December. I guess Dana voted for Josh and I, and the other 3 guys voted for the girls [Leslie Smith vs. Irene Aldana].”

Crowd interaction can play into judging and bonuses:

“I think the girls won it, because the crowd wasn’t vested in that fight. I think Leslie Smith may be from out in the bay area, but. Like I said, our fight, when I was beating Josh up, they weren’t cheering. The place was silent, but with the girls, they stood up and cheered the whole time because it was a neutral crowd. Like I said, I think fan interaction can play into judging, it can play into Fight of the Night, too.”

Home game at UFC Nashville:

“I’m undefeated in Tennessee, man. I’ve never been beat there, and I don’t plan on doing that. There’s always a little extra motivation. All of my friends and family will be in the crowd, so I’m looking to put on a show… It’ll be good to be home for a couple days, and rest an relax.”

Upcoming UFC Fight Night 108 opponent Michael McBride:

“Nik Lentz, I think he’s 5’5, he’s a troll pretty much, but he grapples pretty well and he wrestles. He’s sloppy on the feet, but McBride gave him some trouble in the grappling, so you definitely can’t underestimate his grappling. On the feet, he’s tall and his arms are 6’ long each, so you got to be careful, man.

McBride’s effective awkwardness:

“Sometimes that awkwardness makes things hard. I’m definitely expecting some awkward moments in the fight, especially on the feet. I just have to pay attention. I have to stay fundamentally sound, especially on the ground. On the feet, I should land with some good volume, and should lump him up, but just have to be careful.”

How will you curb your urge to headhunt?

“It’s going to be hard for me. I would say that’s one of my biggest downfalls. I just want to get to people, and hit them, hit them in the face, whatever the cost may be for me. There’s certain things I’m working on, especially footwork and using my feet to enter properly into the danger zone. I’ll have to be a disciplined striker, a little more disciplined than him. It’s going to be awkward. He’s going to be hard to hit. He’ll be long; he’ll be leaning back, his chin will be up, but I have to stay disciplined.”

Prediction for Scott Holtzman vs. Michael McBride:

“No, I don’t have a prediction. I know that I want a finish; I need a finish, but in the past, I’ve tried to force it a bit. This time, I’m not going to force it. This fight’s really more about me. I just want to put together a good performance; I want to be solid in all areas. I want to be solid in striking, solid in wrestling, solid in grappling. I’m a skilled dude; if I’m solid in all of those areas, I’ll get a finish.”

Watch UFC lightweight Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman wage war with Michael McBride at UFC Fight Night 108 in Nashville, Tennessee on April 22, 2017. Stay Tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!

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