The MMA Lab’s Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman is gearing up to make it four-straight UFC victories when he faces longtime Zuffa veteran Nik Lentz, at UFC on ESPN 1 on February 17, 2019. Before marching into battle, the 12-2 Holtzman caught up with Bloody Elbow to discuss achieving his first UFC knockout in his UFC 229 bout with Alan Patrick last October. “Hot Sauce” also opened up about training with The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung at the MMA Lab, and how he could sell tickets to their sparring rounds. After discussing the stylistics of his upcoming fight with Lentz, Holtzman finishes up the interview by unveiling his aspirations to crack the top-15 in the UFC’s lightweight division.
**The complete interview video can be seen at the top of the page.
The UFC on ESPN 1 main card will air live on ESPN at 9:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 6:00 P.M. ET, also on ESPN.
- The last time we saw you in the Octagon, you seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Your striking was really on point. You dropped Alan Patrick in the third round, and then put him out cold with some brutal elbows from the full mount. How did it feel scoring your first UFC knockout?
“It was crazy, man. For me, I was just determined to get a finish because it’s been awhile since I had a finish. So, I was going to finish him one way or another I was working on a choke kind of right before I landed the elbows. To get a knockout on arguably, well not arguably, the biggest card of the year and the biggest Pay-Per-View ever - I wasn’t on the Pay-Per-View but, there were a lot of eye balls there. To go out and do that was special for me.”
- In your post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, you told him that you thought you broke both of your hands. Did you actually break them and how are they doing now?
“I broke my left hand. I had a little break back near the wrist on one of the bones. And then my right hand just ended up being I irritated the knuckle capsule. All my knuckles in my right hand were purple and then my left hand looked like a lunchbox. My right hand started healing up pretty quickly, but it took me probably two months before I could punch with my right hand. Obviously I had a cast for a little while on my left hand. It just got to the point in the fight where I didn’t want to throw either hand. If you can feel it with the adrenaline going, then it should be pretty bad.”
- You’re heading up the road to Phoenix, Arizona for ESPN on UFC 1 on February 17, 2019. Are you stoked to be on ESPN?
“It’s a big deal. Not any different though. Still the same camera crew. Same camera, all that. It’ll be business as usual.”
When you were playing professional hockey, did you ever think you would make it to ESPN, and did you think it would be for cage fighting?
“Nah, not at all. I don’t even think cage fighting was around really when I was playing hockey. I don’t know. To be on ESPN is pretty cool.”
Your upcoming opponent will be none other than longtime UFC vet Nik “The Carnie” Lentz. What is this fight going to look like?
“It’s going to look like the other Nik Lentz fights. He’s really in love with his striking now, so if he wants to do that the whole time, that’ll be better for me. Obviously I don’t mind to strike. Whatever he wants to do will be fine. I’m definitely counting on him shooting in or using his favorite takedowns to try and get it to the floor. He kind of comes forward; I come forward, so we’re going to end up grabbing each other once in awhile. It’ll be a typical Nik Lentz fight, but that’s a fight I’m prepared for.”
- I saw that you posted a pic of you with Ben Henderson and The Korean Zombie on Instagram, with the caption joking about being able to sell tickets to the sparring sessions at The MMA Lab. What are the benefits of having such elite training partners to help get you prepared?
“It’s a realistic look. You’ve got guys that you know have been there, are battle tested, they’re not just sparring partners. They’re not there to make you look good; they’re not there just to help you. Those guys are still competing, and when they come in, they’re coming to win, too. Benson has obviously helped me every camp. He’s a similar grinding style to Nik Lentz. He can kind of fight out of both stances and does everything pretty well. So, it’s been a good look.”
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Some days you could sell tickets for our sparring rounds at @themmalab. • Quality controlled violence yesterday with a couple legends. Always a pleasure to train with @koreanzombie & @bensonhenderson • February 17, UFC on ESPN 1, Phoenix, AZ. • • @ufc @espn @espnmma @reebok @onnit @shieldsystemsacademy @zebramats @gymotribe @whoop #athlete #ufconespn1 #ufc #espnmma #fighter #phoenix #knoxville #onnit #getonnit #bellator
“And ‘The Korean Zombie’’ those are always, always fun rounds. He likes to throw down, and that day in particular me and Benson and the Korean Zombie put on a show. I would have much rather been able to sit ringside and have some popcorn and watch than be involved in it. But, there were some badass rounds.”
- For how long was Chan Sung Jung training at the MMA Lab?
“He was here for maybe a month, month and a half. We got plenty of time. He’s really an awesome dude. Everybody really loves having him around the gym. He doesn’t speak much English. He knows a little more than he leads on. He’s a good guy. Fighting is a universal language, so he’ll get in there and train, he’ll grapple, he’ll wrestle. He’s awesome to have around the gym. Everybody loves him. He’s thinking about doing some camps here in the States, so I think The Lab will be his home if he does.”
- Another one of your MMA Lab teammates, Henry Corrales, just recently scored an epic knockout of super-prospect Aaron Pico over in Bellator. What did you think of the finish?
“It was incredible, man. I’m always so inspired by Henry. That’s another guy where he’s really well-loved in the gym. Everybody enjoys Henry. He worked really hard this camp and obviously our camps butted up against each other. It was fun to see him work and watch how hard he worked. He deserved that victory. We all know how tough Henry is too. He’s an absolute savage, so when he did that, it didn’t surprise us really.”
- Getting back to your Nik Lentz fight, do you think fight is going to go the distance, or do you think it’ll finish up somewhere along the line?
“I don’t know. I’m not sure. I mean he’s a tough guy. He hasn’t been knocked out; he’s been in there a hundred times or something. I’m going to take my time. I’m not out there to knock him out in the first minute. I don’t have to knock him out. Take my time, stay composed, just deal with his pressure. I don’t necessarily think he’s going to shoot in. He doesn’t shoot a ton, but I’m not ruling it out. I’m ready for it. There’s going to come a time where he gets desperate and wants to come forward, or push me to the fence, or get it to the floor. That’s just him. He’ll go back to his roots eventually.”
- A win over Lentz would make it four-straight victories for you in the UFC. Are you gunning for that top-15?
“Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I wanted top-15 top-20. I don’t know where Lentz is ranked. He may be around there. He was up for title eliminator at 45 at one point. We’re both kind of right there, so I’ll definitely want a top-15 after this. I couldn’t really get it this time. I needed one more guy and he was right around there and available, so that’s who we got. So, we’ll deal with him and see what happens after that.”
Watch the 12-2 Scott Holtzman lock horns with the 29-9-2 Nik Lentz at UFC on ESPN1 on February 17, 2018. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!