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News: XFC 24's Scott Holtzman: Nick Newell more Diaz than GSP, but focus is on Mahlow

XFC lightweight Scott Holtzman is a fan of fighters who do their talking in the ring – guys like Benson Henderson and Georges St-Pierre (though he has mixed feelings about the latter's style).

But Nick Newell, he told Radio (, falls into the category of the guys who talk outside the cage – guys like Nick Diaz.

"I would see him at weigh-ins, and I just didn't like how he carried himself," Holtzman said of Newell, a would-be opponent before the reigning lightweight champion left the XFC for the World Series of Fighting. "It was a fight I wanted for a few reasons. I thought he was a bit cocky and arrogant. I didn't like how he walked around mean-mugging everybody.

"But that's just a personal thing. Obviously, he's got a lot of fans out there, and I don't have anything too negative to say about him as a fighter. That's just behind the scenes stuff that's probably a little more of me finding more fuel when it comes to fighting him."

At the moment, that's unlikely to happen. XFC officials publicly stripped Newell of the promotion's lightweight title, claiming he refused to defend his belt against Holtzman. Newell countered that he simply declined to renew his contract with the XFC and sought work with bigger fight promotions.

"At the end of the day, he waited until the last minute and backed out," Holtzman said.

Still the news came as a blow to the undefeated fighter, who wanted a chance to build his name with a win over the popular fighter.

"That's the fight I wanted really badly, and I thought we were going to fight for months," Holtzman said. "Once that was over, I allowed myself 24 hours to be upset about it and pitch a fit. But that was it. I moved on."

On Friday, Holtzman (4-0) hopes to forge his own path by winning the vacant belt. He headlines XFC 24 opposite vet John Mahlow (13-13) at USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. The event's main card airs live on AXS TV (9 p.m. ET).

If Mahlow's past is any indication, good things have come to those who have beaten him – specifically UFC vets, who have made it into the octagon within three fights of their victory.

"He's fought some really experienced guys, so it's a big fight for me," Holtzman said. "He'll have the experience advantage, but I'm ready to take the next step and prove myself to people.

"When guys put the pressure on him, he has trouble with that. I'm going to see how he reacts and see where I can make the moves on the chess board."

In the meantime, he said he's going to refrain from any future jabs at Newell. If he talks again, it's going to be in the cage.

"I'm more of an old-school guy," Holtzman said. "I'm not a guy that's trying to start fights on Facebook or Twitter. I like to focus my mental energy on improving all aspects of the game, as opposed to wasting negative energy on trash talk and computer banter."

For the latest on XFC 24, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site. Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino's Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by "Gorgeous" George Garcia, lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian "Goze" Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to


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