Heading into his seventh appearance in the Octagon, Ma Dong-Hyun has become notorious for sitting in the pocket and trading devastating punches with his opponents.

This did not change against Scott Holtzman at UFC on ESPN 5 on Saturday afternoon in Newark, New Jersey. Having missed weight the previous day by 2lbs, Ma forfeited 20% of his purse.

Utilizing leg kicks and feigned takedown attempts, Holtzman was able to land first with solid shots. About 90 seconds in, the South Korean was stumbled with a lunging laser right hand.

Holtzman followed to the floor and took control his opponent, dropping down some ground and pound. Once Ma got back to his feet toward the end of the round, it was very apparent that his left eye was compromised.

Crisp punches

Ma was the aggressor coming out in the middle frame, marching forward and putting Holtzman on his back foot. However, when they did engage, Holtzman was connecting with the crisper punches, giving him the edge.

After a trip takedown along the fence for Ma, they traded positions in the clinch. Holtzman was able to separate and press forward landing some powerful hooks.

Holtzman got careless for a moment and overextended which opened up the path for a counter left that dropped him onto his buttocks. He did a great job bouncing back up instantly and tying up Ma along the cage wall.

Frenzied pace

Both men swung at each other at a frenzied pace then with not much time left on the clock, the American took the fight to the mat and finished off strong with slicing elbows.

Between rounds, the doctor came in to examine Ma’s eye and he seemingly acknowledged that his vision was impaired. As a result, the referee called the fight.

The 35-year-old Holtzman moves his record to 13-3 and gets back on track after losing a unanimous decision to Nik Lentz earlier this year. Ma, on the other hand, drops his second straight via TKO and moves to 16-10-3 in the record books.

Chopping block

“Maestro” could be on the chopping block but a future UFC event in his hometown of Busan, South Korea in December will likely give him a chance to keep his roster spot.

In the headliner, Colby Covington (15-1) returned after sitting out fourteen months and showed no signs of ring rust against one of the most dangerous competitors in the division. The former interim welterweight champion solidified his position as the number one contender by completely outclassing Robbie Lawler (28-13).

A very anticipated collision course with reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman seems to be the next step for the brash American.

UFC on ESPN 5, Newark, August 3
Colby Covington def. Robbie Lawler via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 5
Jim Miller def. Clay Guida via Submission (Guillotine) at 0:58 of Round 1
Nasrat Haqparast def. Joaquim Silva via KO (Punch) at 0:36 of Round 2
Gerald Meerschaert def. Trevin Giles via Submission (Guillotine) at 1:49 of Round 3
Scott Holtzman def. Ma Dong-Hyun via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 2
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Darko Stosic via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3
Mickey Gall def. Salim Touahri via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3
Antonina Shevchenko def. Lucie Pudilova via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 1:20 of Round 2
Matt Schnell def. Jordan Espinosa via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 1:23 of Round 1
Lauren Murphy def. Mara Romero Borella via TKO (Strikes) at 1:46 of Round 3
Claudio Silva def. Cole Williams via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:35 of Round 1
Miranda Granger def. Hannah Goldy via Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3