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Raufeon Stots explains why he’s rooting for ‘highlighter-headed ass’ Danny Sabatello to beat Leandro Higo in Bellator grand prix

Raufeon Stots
Bellator MMA / Lucas Noonan

Raufeon Stots hopes that the first defense of his Bellator interim bantamweight title is with another fighter from this past weekend’s trip to Hawaii that made an impact, both in and out of the cage.

Stots captured the title with a third-round stoppage of Juan Archuleta in the co-main event of Bellator 279, becoming the first fighter to finish Archuleta via strikes. Stots has won 10 straight and moves on in the bantamweight grand prix to face the winner of the Danny Sabatello vs. Leandro Higo fight at Bellator 282 on June 24.

Before he addressed that matchup, Stots was able to enjoy his first days as a world champ.

“Man, it feels good,” Stots told MMA Fighting on Heck of a Morning. “It’s finally set in that I’m the champion, and I did everything for a reason. I spent around five days with my family, stayed in Hawaii and just hung out. But I feel like a champion, and I’m ready for the next task, ready for the next opponent, so I’m feeling good.”

Sabatello’s stock seemed to rise immensely at Bellator 278 with a dominant unanimous decision win over the previously undefeated Jornel Lugo to earn his spot in the tournament. He then sold the fight with Higo by declaring that his next opponent “f****** sucks.”

Stots was asked to give his thoughts on Sabatello, and the June bout that will determine whom he will defend his title against later this year.

“I might have watched Sabatello’s [fight], but I fell asleep,” Stots jokingly said. “Nah, I did watch Sabatello’s and it was really good. He’s really good, and he talks a lot so I’m excited.

“I hope I get to fight Sabatello, to be honest. He’s really good on the ground. Obviously he sucks on his feet, but he’s really good on the ground. I know he’s gonna talk some s***, so that will be fun for me because I love to talk some s***.”

While there are no official plans for it to happen, Stots would love to be in attendance for the fight between Sabatello and Higo with hopes he could have a staredown with a man that could be his competitive foil for years to come.

“I would love to scrap with his highlighter-headed ass,” Stots said. “I would love to fight Danny Sabatello, but he’s also somebody I can get behind not liking. I don’t know him personally, but I feel like from afar I can get behind not liking the guy. So I’ll go with that, and it will drop me some extra motivation.”