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McBride ready to make a good impression in his second go in the UFC

Webster City native Michael McBride will fight under the UFC banner for the second time on Saturday when he faces Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman in Nashville, Tenn. The fight will be broadcast nationally by FS2. DFJ file photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — As happy as Michael McBride was to finally get the call, the timing couldn’t have been much worse.

A one-week notice for the biggest fight of his life against a veteran opponent in the sport’s biggest organization. No time to train. Barely enough time to cut 20-plus pounds off his frame.

It would be an understatement to say the deck was stacked against him. But that’s all in the past. McBride now only has his eyes set on the future.

Webster City’s favorite fighting son will make his return to the Octagon for the first time since a second-round TKO loss to Nic Lentz last September on Saturday when he tangles with Scott “Hot Sauce” Holtzman on the UFC Fight Night card from Nashville, Tenn. The fight will be part of the preliminary card that will begin at 7 p.m. and be televised nationally by FS2.

The main card is set to get underway at 9 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FS1.

Nick Lentz, right, punches Michael McBride during a lightweight bout at UFC 203 on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

McBride (8-2) has no problem admitting he was in over his head in his UFC debut seven months ago. The lack of lead-up time and the rapid weight reduction prior to the fight left him sapped of energy and strength. But that won’t be the case for his fight with Holtzman.

“It’s night and day,” McBride said just minutes after he touched down in Nashville on Wednesday. “The last fight I couldn’t have been more unprepared. Now this fight seems just like a normal fight. I’m ready to go.”

Just getting the invitation into the UFC was a dream come true for the 6-foot-1, 155-pound 31-year-old. With nothing left to prove locally, McBride had even begun to think about a future outside of the sport when the offer to fight Lentz appeared. So to be in this position now, it’s an opportunity he says he’s not about to squander.

“The whole not knowing was holding me back before,” he said. “But once I got signed, that was all the motivation I needed. As soon as I got back from my last fight, I was back to training. Just knowing that I had something in the works gave me a reason to push forward.”

McBride returned to his home at Des Moines Jiu-Jitsu and that’s where he’s spent the majority of his time training for the Holtzman fight.

AP Photo/David Dermer

Just like in his previous scrap, McBride will enter the cage as an underdog on Saturday against another UFC veteran in Holtzman (9-2), who is 2-2 inside the organization. Holtzman is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Josh Emmett at UFC on FOX 22 in December, so he has something to prove as well.

Holtzman owns UFC wins over Anthony Christodoulou via submission and Cody Pfister by unanimous decision.

McBride will be at a disadvantage in terms of support outside the Octagon. Holtzman, a University of Tennessee graduate, resides in nearby Knoxville, Tenn., which is just a little more than two hours away from Nashville.

Holtzman is a quick, strong and athletic fighter who has three wins by knockout under his belt. Formerly of the XFC organization, the 5-9 brawler will have the striking advantage, but McBride is confident that he will be able to assert his will.

“To me, he seems really athletic and strong, but nothing about him really stands out as overly impressive,” McBride said of his opponent. “I feel like I should be able to beat him from numerous angles if it stays on the feet. I’ve got a reach advantage on him, so he’s going to have to try to get inside on me to land. And if I choose to take it to the ground, I can.”

A long and perhaps unorthodox fighter, McBride is known for his submission skills. All eight of his professional victories have come by tap out and he’s used an array of techniques. Three of his wins have come via a rear-naked choke, two by triangle, and one by a kimura, an arm triangle and a Brabo Choke.

McBride will no doubt look for a finishing hold on Holtzman, but he says he won’t force the issue.

“I’ll kind of just feel it out and see how it’s going,” he said.

With a loss already under his belt in the UFC, McBride knows he might not get another chance if he doesn’t perform on Saturday. But he also knows that he can’t let the moment get too big.

“It’s business as usual,” he said. “Yeah, there’s pressure in the fact that if you lose you could be done. But I just try not to think about it. I did my part; I worked hard in practice and I trained. I’m in a good place right now.”


Michael McBride’s fight on Saturday will be televised on FS2. Here’s where to find the channel.

Dish Network: Channel 149

Mediacom: Channel 179

DirecTV: Channel 618