Scott Holtzman came on strong in the second and third rounds against Jim Miller at UFC Rio Rancho, earning a decision win in the process.
The man with the most fights and wins in the UFC’s lightweight division (and tied for most fights overall with Donald Cerrone), Jim Miller, was in action Saturday at UFC Rio Rancho. There, the long-serving octagon veteran faced off with Scott Holtzman, with both fighters coming off wins. Miller, in particular, had strung together a two-fight win streak, and seemed to have shaken off a slump that at least in part could be blamed on his battle with Lyme disease.
Holtzman started the fight as the favorite, which seemed like a bit of a surprise given Miller’s standing in the weight class. Miller kicked the legs out from under Holtzman early, earning a big reaction from the crowd. Holtzman held center, with Miller on the outside; he’d need to be wary of getting backed up to the fence. Miller would begin letting his hands go, straight lefts, and connected to the body with a kick as well. A kick to Holtzman’s calf followed.
In Holtzman’s favor was his ability to back Miller up, which was still a concern at the midway point of the round. Miller would finally charge forward, searching for a single-leg takedown, only to be reversed and pressed up against the fence. After separating, Holtzman found a home for his right hand at least three times. He’d fire off a high kick, while Miller’s nose was leaking blood. Off a kick, Miller would land a hard left, and later fired a superman punch just as the round came to a close.
Overall a close round, with both fighters connecting clean at times.
The second saw the lightweight pair pick up where they’d left off. Miller again found success with his low kick. But as in the first, his back was against the cage early, with Holtzman showing impressive cage control. This round, they clinched early, Holtzman pressing his opponent into the fence. Off the break, Holtzman fanned on some heavy punches. Miller then landed a lightning-quick takedown. He went for the back, but while it wouldn’t last, it showed that Miller could get the fight down. However, Holtzman answered strong, connecting up top. Miller was bloodied, but he landed with a big swing as well. Some trading in the pocket followed. Holtzman secured a trip, sweeping Miller to the canvas. Miller immediately went into submission mode, and Holtzman wisely backed off, wary of an omoplata or similar sub.
BIG exchange in the 2nd! 🤜🤛
— UFC (@ufc) February 16, 2020
Holtzman then moved into half-guard, and looked to drop punches and elbows, with Miller covering up. However, he’d survive, and the pair headed to the third and final frame.
Entering the third, Miller appeared to be bleeding from the back of the ear. Holtzman snapped his opponent’s head back early. Miller may have injured a knee sometime in the second, and he seemed to be protecting his left leg. He was still able to throw it, however. But with his movement impeded, Miller found himself slugging it out, trading with Holtzman — who was getting the better of the exchanges in the third. Holtzman would land an uppercut with Miller trapped along the fence, and the bloodied Miller was running out of time. He managed to trip up Holtzman with a leg kick again. One would imagine, when it came time to look back, that Miller may regret not throwing more of those. However, the pair traded to the final bell instead, going to the judges.
Official Result: Scott Holtzman def. Jim Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)