Bellator 289 saw Raufeon Stots defend his interim bantamweight title, clinch a berth in the 135lb grand prix final, and get the nod over rival Danny Sabatello.
It’s that last point that may actually make Friday’s victory over Sabatello the most satisfying of Stots’ career, given the amount of vitriol Sabatello sent his way.
“I’m satisfied I got the win, but I wanted to get that motherf*cker out of there. I wanted to cause a little more damage,” Stots (19-1) said following the fight. “I definitely got to see the look I was looking for, like he wasn’t ready for the pain that I was going to bring him. But yeah, that is the most satisfying, given the talk he was talking.”
“I’m glad to be the one that shut him up for a little bit. I feel like if I would have finished him, it would have shut his mouth for a longer time,” Stots added. “But he’s going to be mad, and I can sleep well at night, knowing that.”
To the surprise of just about everyone, one judge scored the fight in favor of Sabatello with a score of 50-45. Scoring the fight for Danny Sabatello wasn’t the issue; the bout was close, but a 50-45 score was completely out of the blue.
Stots was taken aback as well.
“I was surprised with the 50-45, because I definitely believe he was trying to control, and we know that’s his game. But he did literally no damage to me any time he controlled me,” Stots stated. “He couldn’t do damage because I’m creating space and doing the things I’m supposed to do to keep the fight moving, to progress towards a finish.”
Stots admitted that “in that moment,” while the scores were being read, there was “a lot of regret. Just like ‘man I should have finished him,’ or ‘man I should have gave a little more or not let up a little more.’ I don’t like going to judges decisions, because I’m leaving my future in the hands of other people.”
“So when I heard that 50-45 in the beginning, I was like ‘God damn it, here we go’ because that was an outrageous scorecard I feel.”
Next up will be Patchy Mix in the Bantamweight Grand Prix Final. Mix won his own fight against Magomed Magomedov at Bellator 289, choking out the Russian. Having taken no damage from Sabatello, “I’ll be ready to go as soon as he’s [Mix] ready to go,” Stots said.
As for arch-nemesis Danny Sabatello, Stots is actually hoping to fight him again. And be believes their rivalry boosted his career.
“I think he’s good for MMA, I think he was great for my career. He was a great step I needed. I needed a villain, I needed somebody on the other side of the cage that people thought could hang with me, would pose a threat to me and challenge me,” suggested Stots. “And he definitely did that.”
“His skills were better than I thought they were, so I’ll give him credit for that, but I still won so I’m still going to talk sh*t and rub it in his face.”