Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight bruisers Scott Holtzman and Darrell Horcher threw down last night (Dec. 9, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 123 inside the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
Holtzman and Horcher shared quite a few similarities ahead of their match up last night. Both had a reputation for toughness and a willingness to trade punches, but neither man had yet to really carve out a position at 155 lbs. or earn a signature win. Still young in their respective UFC careers, this bout was a real test of which scrapper was ready for a step up in competition.
Holtzman opened the bout with some kicks up and the middle and flurries, using the forward movement to set up hid double leg takedown. He wasn't able to finish the shot, leading to some muscling around along the fence from both men. Then, a trip from "Hot Sauce" brought the bout to the mat.
From within the guard, Holtzman postured up and dropped heavy punches. Horcher eventually worked back to his feet, but he ate some brutal knees in the process. He turned the tide a bit with a takedown of his own, but Horcher wasn't able to accomplish much before the bell.
Holtzman definitely held the edge after the first five minutes.
Horcher came out in the second looking to put his left hand on Holtzman's chin, and he found immediate success. He stunned Holtzman briefly, but "Hot Sauce" responded by backing his foe into the fence and dumping him to the mat with a double leg takedown.
Once again, Horcher slowly used the fence to stand but absorbed punches in the process. This time, Holtzman put him right back on the mat, showing off his strength advantage.
Holtzman controlled his opponent for most of the round, although he wasn't able to really open up with much offense. Either way, Horcher had a deep hole to dig out off with five minutes remaining.
Unfortunately for him, all the grappling slowed the underdog, as his punches looked a bit labored. Horcher was at least able to defend the takedowns and keep the bout on the feet for a couple minutes, but his inability to get off the fence eventually saw Holtzman plant him on his back for the third straight round.
A bizarre referee stand up saw the two athletes back on their feet striking with 90 seconds remaining. Horcher scored well, but Holtzman went right back to the wrestling and finished the fight on top, sealing the fight in his favor.
Was it the most entertaining contest of Holtzman's career? Far from it. However, he did clearly win all three rounds against a skilled counter striker, which is a victory no matter how you look at it.
Holtzman's wrestling has come a long way since he was out-maneuvered in the clinch by Drew Dober. Last night, he was able to transition between the double and upper body clinch well. The mix of the shot and inside trip was too much for Horcher, and Holtzman did a good job of punishing his opponent for trying to scramble up.
Even at 34 years old, Holtzman is a hell of an athlete. While it doesn't look like his game is fully realized -- he dove for takedowns at range a bit too much -- he has earned a step up in competition, perhaps opposite a veteran like Clay Guida.
As for Horcher, he was the sharper man on the feet and stunned his foe with some nice lefts. Other than that, however, he fell victim to his opponent's pressure and wrestling.
More than anything else, Horcher just couldn't keep his back off the fence. In the opening, he was landing well and stopping shots. In that forced close range, Holtzman's strength was just too much for the up-and-comer, whose UFC record drops to 1-2.
Last night, Scott Holtzman manhandled his opponent for a decision victory. Who should he face next?
For complete UFC Fight Night 123 “Swanson vs. Ortega” results and live play-by-play, click HERE!