Bellator 289: Raufeon Stots Silences Danny Sabatello, Will Face Patchy Mix For Title
Bellator 290 will take place on February 4, 2023.
After months of verbal sparring, Raufeon Stots, the interim Bellator bantamweight champion, survived Danny Sabatello’s unrelenting grappling assault to win by split decision and move on to the $1 million Bantamweight Grand Prix finals.
Bellator 289’s main event was held on Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Judges Bryan Miner and Eric Colon scored the fight 48–47 for Stots, while the lone contrarian, Doug Crosby, scored the battle 50–45 for Sabatello.
“F— you Sabatello!” an elated Stots said after.
📊 By The Numbers@RaufeonStots retains the gold against @ShockThisWorld in a tight Split Decision! #Bellator289 pic.twitter.com/zodhwofIc5
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 10, 2022
“He didn’t do no damage. I was walking him down the whole time, I had his face bloody, I got blood all in that highlighter head, and we’re moving on to the finals, baby.”
Sabatello’s strategy involved wrestling. While Sabatello (13-2) accumulated more than 10 minutes of ground control time, the brazen 29-year-old couldn’t mount much meaningful offense despite persistently looking for a means to go to Stots’ back to score takedowns — all except the third round.
The 25-minute contest saw Stots (19-1), who blocked 15 of Sabatello’s 19 takedown attempts, gain the lead in the striking exchanges, totaling 90 strikes to the Italian’s 43.
Following reading the scorecards, Sabatello walked out of the ring in rage. Still, in-ring interviewer and veteran MMA official John McCarthy expressed his support for Stots’ damage over Sabatello’s loss of control.
“He was trying to control me, hold my nuts all f— fight,” Stots said to McCarthy. “Well, hugging nuts don’t win fights. Damage does. Let’s go.”
Patchy Mix (17-1), a 29-year-old bantamweight who became the first person to defeat Magomed Magomedov (19-3) by putting the Russian to sleep with a vicious guillotine choke at the 2:39 mark of Round 2, will face Stots in the competition’s finals.
Despite being the underdog, Mix consolidated his position early and came close to guillotining Magomedov in the middle of the first round.
The $1,000,000 #BellatorBWGP final is set. 💰
It will be @RaufeonStots 🆚 @TeamMixMMA in 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣3️⃣.#Bellator289 pic.twitter.com/jEEIqwacn5
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 10, 2022
After shocking Kyoji Horiguchi and Magomedov, Mix is now just one battle away from romping to the $1 million prize for the tournament.
“You best be sure I’m coming for that f– title,” Mix said after his win.
The Bellator flyweight champion Liz Carmouche (18-7) and Juliana Velasquez (12-2) squared up again in the other championship fight on the program after Carmouche’s contentious comeback victory over Velasquez to capture the title in April.
However, there was no controversy this time and no need for a return.
At 4:24 in Round 2, Carmouche ended the action with a mounted armbar after dominating the fight with takedowns and wrestling.
After months of simmering animosity between the two flyweights, Carmouche’s performance was vindicated with her first armbar stoppage since her second professional victory in 2010.
“She tapped and it popped, so there’s no doubts anywhere [this time],” a grinning Carmouche said.
“With 2023, I see two things happening. I see Bellator opening up a [women’s] 135 division where Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and I can fight in Hawaii for her retirement like she wanted, and then [Kana] Watanabe gets a crack at the title in Japan at the end of the year.”
In the main event’s first fight, rising middleweight Dalton Rosta (8-0) defeated Anthony Adams (9-3) by majority decision despite nearly knocking him out in the last minute of the contest.
Rosta, 27, earned a unanimous 30-27 decision victory from the three judges, giving him his ninth victory for Bellator.
Check out the rest of the results below:
- Raufeon Stots def. Danny Sabatello via split decision (45-50, 48-47, 48-47)
- Liz Carmouche def. Juliana Velasquez via submission (armbar) at 4:24 of Round 2
- Patchy Mix def. Magomed Magomedov via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:39 of Round 2
- Dalton Rosta def. Anthony Adams via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ilara Joanne def. Denise Kielholtz via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)
- Jaleel Willis def. Kyle Crutchmer via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Cris Lencioni def. Cody Law via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
- Christian Echols def. Pat Downey via KO (uppercut) at 2:27 of Round 1 | Watch finish
- Kai Kamaka III def. Kevin Boehm via TKO (strikes) at 2:23 of Round 3
- Michael Lombardo def. Mark Lemminger via TKO (left hook and punches) at 4:23 of Round 1
- Cass Bell def. Jared Scoggins via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)