After plenty of bad blood in the buildup to their fight, Raufeon
Stots
got the last laugh against Danny
Sabatello
at
Bellator 289
.

Thanks to a steady jab, a solid sprawl and an active ground game,
Stots retained the interim bantamweight crown and advanced to the
grand prix finals with a split-decision triumph over Sabatello at
Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Friday night. While
Sabatello did land a few takedowns to rack up control time, he
didn’t do all that much with positioning when he had it. Still, one
judge awarded the American Top Team product with a 50-45
scorecard.

“I was surprised with the 50-45,” Stots said at the Bellator 289
post-fight press conference. “I believe he was trying to control;
we know that’s his game, but he did no damage. I did the things I
was supposed to do. I was progressing toward the finish, he was
trying to stall the fight out. Just because you hold somebody’s
legs doesn’t mean you should win a fight, and that’s how I think it
should be. This is mixed martial arts.”

Stots, who threatened with a kneebar in the second round and
bloodied Sabatello with elbows in the final stanza, was
disappointed he was unable to finish his adversary.

“I’m satisfied that I got the win, but I wanted to get that
motherf—-ker out of there,” Stots said. “That’s the most satisfying
given the talk he was talking. I’m glad to be the one to shut him
up for a little bit. I can sleep at night knowing that.”

In hindsight, Stots can appreciate what the outspoken Sabatello
brought to the promotion of their bout.

“I think [Sabatello] was great for my career,” Stots said. “He was
a great step for me. I needed a villain, someone people thought
could hang with me and challenge me. His skills were better than I
thought they were, but I still won, so I’m still gonna talk s—t to
him… I think he’ll be back. I think he’ll learn from this loss and
be better for it. Hopefully I see him again, because this was a fun
fight and a fun buildup, so hopefully.”

While a rematch with Sabatello may very well be in the cards, the
first order of business is the grand prix finals matchup against
Patrick
Mix
, who scored a second-round submission of Magomed
Magomedov
in the other half of the bantamweight bracket. A date
for that bout has yet to be announced.

“I saw glimpses of [his fight]. I saw the finish. I know Patchy’s
good on the ground, but you’re not better than me at mixed martial
arts,” Stots said. “You’ve got to get past a lot of things to get
to that position. I’ve got amazing submission defense and
wrestling. I’m looking forward to that fight because he’s proving
himself as one of the greats. He’s deserving of the spot. I’m
looking forward to putting my fist through the gap in his
teeth.”





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Raufeon Stots Says Danny Sabatello Was Good for His Career: ‘I Needed a Villain’