scott-holtzman.jpgThe card for XFC’s return next month is set – mostly.

The main event at XFC 24 was scheduled to be a lightweight title fight between champion Nick Newell (9-0) and top contender Scott Holtzman (4-0). In the co-main event, middleweights Reggie Pena (10-5) and Ricky Rainey (5-1) do battle.

But on Friday, the XFC announced that Newell is refusing to sign to fight Holtzman and will be stripped of his title. A new main event between Holtzman and an opponent to be named is expected to be announced, with XFC’s 155-pound title up for grabs.

“XFC 24: Collision Course” takes place June 14 at Sun Dome on the campus of University of South Florida in Tampa. The main card airs live on AXS TV.

Newell, a congenital amputee, is missing his left hand and most of his left forearm, yet he continues to notch impressive victories – with eight of his nine wins coming by first-round stoppage. In December at XFC 21, he finished Bellator vet Eric Reynolds in 82 seconds with a rear-naked choke. Acclaimed lightweights Eddie Alvarez and Jorge Masvidal needed to get to the third round before finishing Reynolds.

Six of Newell’s nine wins have come by submission, and he is 4-0 for XFC. But Holtzman will be his first time facing an unbeaten opponent – though Newell has more than twice as much in-cage experience.

“For Nick to deny Scott Holtzman, or any of those that earn their shot, the same opportunity that he was given is disrespectful in my eyes,” XFC President John Prisco stated. “It’s always been our motto if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. How can that happen if your champion will not defend his title? That’s not a true champion.”

Holtzman in February took a unanimous decision from Jason Hicks (5-1) at XFC 22 in a lightweight title eliminator. It was the first time in his career he had gone the distance after starting his pro career with three straight stoppage wins, all under the XFC banner. The Tennesseean has been fighting professional for a little more than a year.

Pena has won two straight under the XFC banner, though they were his lone fights in 2011 and 2012. Against Rainey, he’ll fight for the first time in 2013. He also had just one fight a year in 2010 and 2009. Rainey brings a two-fight win streak into the fight after the lone loss of his career, a knockout loss to Johnny Buck at XFC 19. Since then, he has wins over Donald Wallace and Joseph Corneroli at XFC 21 and 22.

The main card at XFC 24 includes a welterweight matchup between Dave Courchaine (15-5) and Luis Santos (55-8); Kevin Forant (5-0) vs. Eric Reynolds (16-6) at flyweight; a women’s flyweight bout featuring Cortney Casey (0-0) vs. Kelly Warren (3-4); and Shah Bobonis (15-5) vs. Jason Hicks (5-1) at featherweight.

The XFC 24 card includes:

MAIN CARD (9 p.m. ET, AXS TV)

  • Scott Holtzman vs. TBA – for vacant lightweight title
  • Reggie Pena vs. Ricky Rainey
  • Dave Courchaine vs. Luis Santos
  • Kevin Forant vs. Eric Reynolds
  • Cortney Casey vs. Kelly Warren
  • Shah Bobonis vs. Jason Hicks

PRELIMINARY CARD

For the latest on XFC 24, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Scott Holtzman)

Updated at 12:40 p.m. ET on May 10, 2013, to reflect Newell being pulled from main event.

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