With an interim title on the line, the bantamweight grand prix quarter-final between Juan Archuleta and Raufeon Stots at Bellator 279 was already high stakes.
Ahead of the fight, it also appeared that emotions were close to boiling over, with Archuleta calling his opponent a bully.
It was Archuleta bullying Stots to the fence, and taking him down, early in the opening round of their quarter-final fight on Saturday however. Stots wound up sitting with his back to the fence; he would eventually make it up, but Archuleta stayed on him. When they did move back to center, there were some quick exchanges before Stots changed levels and landed a takedown of his own. He’s transition to the back as Archuleta worked to a three-point stance, but the bell would sound there.
Round two saw Archuleta press for a takedown early. Stots would fight that off, and later in the round work for his own. Something of a wrestling match had broken out in this bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal fight. The second half of the round had Archuleta pressing Stots against the fence, using underhooks to control his opponent, while Stots showed some decent balance, hopping, moving, and just refusing to be taken down — even adding a few elbows to the head of Archuleta before the bell.
If rounds one and two were grappling battles lacking a little oomph in terms of action, round three was a polar opposite — and Stots wrapped things up just seconds into it.
Stots fired a kick up high, only for his knee to connect with the head of Juan Archuleta. The leg went out from under Archuleta, he fell back, and Stots was all over him, throwing a right hand before he even hit the ground! The ref made the save, and Stots had a huge victory to move on in the grand prix.
— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) April 24, 2022
He’s also now the proud owner of a shiny new interim title — and with teammate Sergio Pettis the proper champ, things could get very interesting at Roufusport down the road.
Official Result: Raufeon Stots def. Juan Archuleta by knockout, Round 3, 0:16