Ahead of the Bellator bantamweight grand prix semifinals, Patchy Mix had an idea about who he would face in the finals, although he wasn’t exactly sure how the fight between Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello might play out.
While Mix never exactly had much praise for Sabatello, he was still surprised at how effective the former Purdue wrestler was against Stots throughout the five-round battle even if he correctly predicted the outcome. Stots ultimately secured a split decision victory as he stuffed numerous takedown attempts from Sabatello and avoided the wrestling scrambles to earn his way to the finals of the grand prix.
“It played out like I thought it could,” Mix explained when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I thought if it played out with Sabatello dragging him out to the fifth round and all that stuff and it goes to a decision, I thought Sabatello would win but that was kind of the surprise to me. I honestly thought Raufeon Stots would find a way to knock his ass out. He’d put Danny Sabatello down and make him quit, similar to the way Irwin Rivera was able to. Stuff all his shots, and be able to put it on him.
“Sabatello showed improved striking. He was able to push kick him in the face and then some other stuff. Not improved striking but he was dog s*** awful before and this fight he landed some things of merit. He was turning his back and doing all sorts of beginner level s*** in the fight, too. The fight kind of played out like I thought it would if Danny Sabatello was desperately shooting in like he was and Stots didn’t get a knockout. Stots was able to grind out a decision and good for him because now he has to face me.”
Even though Sabatello didn’t get the job done, Mix absorbed a lot of information about Stots from that fight and how his grappling could give the interim Bellator bantamweight champion fits when they clash on Saturday.
Mix doesn’t have the same wrestling credentials as Sabatello but his grappling is much nastier with a reputation as a slick submission specialist from anywhere in the cage. In his career, Mix has finished 12 out of his 17 wins by submission and after watching Stots’ most recent performance against Sabatello, the 29-year-old bantamweight is confident he’s already figured out the best path to victory.
“I think Sabatello wrote a million dollar blueprint on how to beat Raufeon Stots with that fight,” Mix said. “Because he showed so many holes in his game. [Stots] doesn’t just have holes in his grappling. He has holes in his striking, his clinch, his cardio.
“He showed a lot of holes in his game and after I take advantage of it, I think other people are going to look to take advantage of it as well.”
One mistake is all Mix needs to seize on an opening to get a finish and he can only warn Stots against committing the same errors against him as he did in the semifinals of the grand prix.
“Let’s say he better get his game under control because we had some time to get ready obviously and we’re fighting for a million dollars so if he tries that s*** on me — nope,” Mix said. “It’s going to be a short night.”
That said, Mix doesn’t expect an easy fight and he’s preparing for Stots as if he’s the most dangerous 135-pounder on the planet.
In fact, Mix wants that version of Stots to show up at Bellator 295 because beating somebody at their absolute best makes a win taste even sweeter.
“I hope he believes to his fullest that he can win and I want the best version of him,” Mix said. “I want the best version. The one who knocked out [Juan] Archuleta, who came back after being down two rounds and knocked him out.
“This guy that is dangerous and feared. That’s who I want. Because I want to run him over.”