It’s been almost a year to the day that Raufeon Stots kicked off his bantamweight grand prix run in Honolulu, Hawaii with a massive finish of ex-champ Juan Archuleta to capture the Bellator interim bantamweight title.
This Saturday, he returns to the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, where he faces Patchy Mix in the grand prix final.
“Hawaii feels like my home away from home in fighting. I’ve had a lot of fights in Connecticut with Bellator, but the other half— I’ve been either Connecticut or Hawaii,” Stots (19-1) told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “I’ve been to Hawaii three times now, I made my debut in Hawaii, I won my interim belt in Hawaii, and now I get to win a million dollars in Hawaii.”
Stots remains undefeated on Hawaiian soil, but the stakes are unquestionably higher heading into the Bellator 295 main event. The grand prix title and million dollars in prize money almost certainly make this the biggest fight of Stots’ career.
Despite that, there’s no anxiety ahead of the event for Raufeon Stots. Or if there is, it’s not a feeling that is detrimental for Stots.
“For me, and I know everybody is different, I feel anxiety is what you make it. For me, I feel anxiety is excitement. I’m excited,” exclaimed Stots. “I don’t feel anxiety, I feel excitement— I get to go in there and do this thing.”
“My training is super-hard, so the fight time, that’s fun. I’m ready for that. I don’t really get anxiety, I get excited about being in there, facing a big challenge, he’s a tough dude,” Stots continued. “Every one of these tough guys, I’m excited to get in there and see what they got. See if they can withstand the test. Because I know for a fact that I’m going to bring it every time. So I don’t really get anxiety about it.”
The breakdown of Raufeon Stots vs. Patchy Mix, at least on the surface, is fairly simple: Mix would appear to have the edge in submission grappling, Stots on the feet. He feels he has the edge in wrestling as well, and plans to drag Mix into deep waters where that is concerned.
“My wrestling and striking is going to be way better than him. Not that he can’t wrestle or can’t strike, I just think I have more tools in that division,” Stots told us. “If it was strictly wrestling or strictly striking, I think I would have the advantage. So I’ve got to use that to my advantage, kind of take him to deep waters in those areas.”
“It’s obvious where he’s good, obviously he’s getting better too, so I have to account for that,” Stots noted. “But I’m hella confident I can beat a man anywhere, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m a mixed martial artist, so he’s going to have to show me that he can implement his game plan. Which is to choke me out, apparently. I ain’t never been f*cking choked out in a fight; we’re going to f*cking see if you’re going to f*cking be able to choke me out, bro!”
Watch our full interview with Raufeon Stots above. Stots faces Patchy Mix in the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix final at Bellator 295 on Saturday, April 22, 2023 in Honolulu, Hawaii.