In winning his fifth pro MMA fight, over veteran John Mahlow in June, lightweight up-and-comer Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman not only remained undefeated, he claimed the XFC 155-pound title in the process and effectively took the next step in his career.
“I thought it would be a tougher fight, and I expected it would be a five-round battle, but I did well with just winning the fight everywhere it was,” said Holtzman of his second-round TKO win. “Just winning each position, which is something I strive for, so I did really well with that.”
While he did some things well in the fight, Holtzman feels his performance against Mahlow was not entirely perfect.
“I didn’t stick to the game plan and got a little flat-footed in the beginning and allowed him to push me into the cage, so I need to stick and move a little more,” said Holtzman. “It’s all part of the learning process. In every fight you find holes or things you need to improve on.”
Having claimed his first professional title, Holtzman told MMAWeekly.com that he knows things have changed, because being a champion comes with its own set of challenges.
“I’ve realized that once you get the belt, you’re the guy everyone’s gunning for,” he said. “That’s why I started this sport, to compete at the highest level, and I intend to do that.”
Holtzman’s first title defense will come on Friday, Oct. 18, in Nashville, Tenn., when he takes on veteran Roger Carroll in the headlining bout of XFC 26.
“He’s a black belt in judo and jiu-jitsu, who is more of a grinder type, who is not going to do anything too grand or flashy,” said Holtzman of Carroll. “I think with his game, he just comes forward and is willing to take a couple of shots to grab hold of you.
“For me, I just need to win every position again and not get pushed into the cage and get held there and on the ground. I have to keep moving and not put the fight where he wants it.”
For Holtzman, keeping the title he fought hard to win is of the utmost importance and he’s willing to defend it at all costs.
“I’ll be defending it for the first time and I’m ready and feel better than I’ve ever felt,” said Holtzman. “If (Carroll is) going to want to get it from me, he’s going to have to kill me.”