Bellator bantamweight Raufeon Stots carried a six fight win streak into Bellator 253. Coming off a win over Cass Bell, Stots, a two-time NCAA Division II wrestling champ, was up against arguably his toughest test in the Bellator cage: Keith Lee, brother of UFC standout Kevin Lee.
The pair opened the main card on CBS Sports Network on Thursday night.
A sizable bump up the 135lb ladder awaited the winner of Stots vs. Lee. The fight itself, perhaps with that in mind, started out with an extended feeling out period. Cautious. Stots would work in some leg kicks. Lee, meanwhile, tried to target both the body and head with his jab, mixing in a head kick to keep Stots guessing. The head kick was pretty, and landed clean — but it didn’t slow Stots down. The course of the round instead changed when the pair came together in a clinch by the fence. Stots would prove to have the edge in the wrestling and grappling department, getting his opponent down, taking the back, and getting hooks in.
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Round two saw the fight stay standing for the entirety of the round. Stots found success backing his opponent up against the fence, firing a head kick or two of his own and forcing Lee onto the defensive more than once. Not a ton landed in this round in the way of significant strikes, but thanks to being the aggressor and staying busy, Stots likely headed to round three up on the scorecards.
Perhaps knowing he needed a finish, Lee managed to get into a firefight with his opponent early in the third. A bit of phone booth fighting and blind swinging saw both men land, until Stots tied his opponent up and got a guillotine choke in place. But Stots wasn’t in position, and Lee was quickly out of danger. The pair would finish the round on the feet, with Lee looking for a head kick finish more than once, but unable to land it. That allowed Stots to take home the win on the scorecards.
Moving forward, Stots will probably get a small step up in competition, as he’s now 3-0 in the Bellator cage, and undefeated in his last seven fights.
Official Result: Raufeon Stots def. Keith Lee by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)