Raufeon Stots has said that he will keep his bantamweight title until Sergio Pettis…

Bellator 279: Raufeon Stots Says He’ll Hold Onto The Bantamweight Title Until Sergio Pettis Is Ready

Raufeon Stots has said that he will keep his bantamweight title until Sergio Pettis is ready to fight

In this video, Raufeon Stots talks about Sergio Pettis’ injury and his fight with Juan Archuleta for the interim bantamweight title at Bellator 279, which is the start of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix in September.

Raufeon Stots was one of the first to call for Bellator MMA to create a Bantamweight Grand Prix championship tournament to showcase the organization’s elite 135-pound roster. Needless to say, things haven’t gone quite as planned thus far.

Following the injury to defending bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis, the tournament will now be for an interim championship, a first for Bellator. The champion needed surgery for a ruptured ACL, which will keep him out for at least the next six to nine months.

For someone like Stots, who has built momentum and climbed to No. 3 in the Bellator bantamweight rankings, there is a sense of disillusionment. There is, however, a sensation of relief.

Stots had been scheduled to fight for the tournament’s first title, but it would have pitted him against Pettis, a long-time partner and friend.

In an exclusive interview with FanSided MMA’s Amy Kaplan, Stots stated after the Bellator 277 and 279 news conferences, “It was bittersweet.”

“Like, I didn’t want it to be like this.” It is, however, no longer a secret. I don’t want to get into an argument with my son. I simply felt like I was fighting myself on the inside. It’s as if I’m attempting to kidnap his girlfriend. It just made me feel horrible.

So when he phoned me, it was like, ‘Hey, guy, I’d like to apologize.’ I’m sorry for injuring myself during training.’ So he informed me, and I was relieved, but also sad, as you can imagine.

Because his health comes first, and he’s coming back from a serious injury. I’m praying for him, and I know he’ll overcome this struggle, just like any other, but I was pleased not to have to battle him. “

Raufeon Stots says he’s Sergio Pettis’ bodyguard and will keep the bantamweight title until he’s ready to fight again

He has quickly risen through the ranks since joining Bellator a little more than two years ago, making his debut in the same arena as Bellator 279, attracting increasing attention with his top-prospect status, superb wrestling, and general dominance in bouts.

Stots, who has only lost once in his 18-fight MMA career, has defeated Cheyden Leialoha, Cass Bell, Keith Lee, Josh Bell, and Magomed Magomedov in Bellator prior to the introduction of the Grand Prix.

The first release of the bracket, which pitted Pettis against Stots in the first round, raised some eyebrows among the MMA community, given the pair’s history.

Stots, on the other hand, said he was told he made the most sense for the tournament’s first championship opportunity because No. 2 ranked Patchy Mix had lost a title bout against Juan Archuleta, the man who lost the belt to Pettis at Bellator 258 last year.

“A lot of people expected [Pettis and myself] to make the finals,” Stots stated. However, Bellator’s point of view was that it made no sense for anyone else [to compete for the title], as it was presented to me.

If anyone else fights for the championship, it will be a slight to me because I deserved to compete for it. So I was like, “I think, but it’s just the context stuff,” when they said that.

Despite the fact that Pettis had to withdraw from the contest, Stots still believes he can win the world title in his next fight, which will now be against Archuleta.

If Stots wins the whole tournament, not just his fight with Archuleta, he’ll hold on to the interim gold medal until his friend is ready to fight for the title.

“Just because Sergio will be out for so long, it [still] feels like I’m battling for a world championship.” Furthermore, I am convinced that I am the best in the world. Sergio appears to be the most difficult test I’ve ever faced.

I also think he’s the real deal. So basically, I’m going to keep the belt for him till he returns. I’ve stated it before, but I want it to be Sergio’s bodyguard for all of these newcomers.

That’s how it’s going to turn out. So I’ll keep the belt until he’s healthy again, and I’ll be the champion until he’s healthy again. Then we’ll be able to settle up when he returns. “

Apart from the fact that a dear buddy has been wounded, the most disappointing aspect of Pettis’ misfortune is that Stots had already moved out to Las Vegas for his camp.

According to Stots, he moved out there for the training camp for this bout because he and Pettis — who both train at Roufusport — had agreed to keep their distance in advance of their fight.

“This is the most money I’ve ever spent on a camp, and I couldn’t get any of it back after he got hurt,” Stots remarked. “And I’m not in a position to squander that money.”

So I contacted the [Roufusport] coaches and told Duke [Roufus] that I’d already spent the money out here. So I’m simply going to wrap things up here.’ I’m still a Roufusport fighter, but I’m going to finish what I started out here.”

Stots did say, though, that Roufusport teammates Emmanuel Sanchez and Christian Rodriguez traveled to Vegas to assist Stots after Pettis’ injury. Both will be in Stots’ corner for the interim title battle, as will Bryan Bautista, and Stots has been in frequent contact with Roufusport instructors in the lead-up.

Given his experience and success in Bellator at both bantamweight and featherweight, Archuleta, a ground-game adept like Stots, is not a fighter to be underestimated. Stots, on the other hand, claims he’ll make a statement against him and possibly even get a finish.

“I believe I finished Juan in the third round or thereabouts.” I’m going to keep putting pressure on him. He’s a tough guy, but I don’t think he wants to fight, so I’m going to force him to fight the entire time.”

Bellator 279 will take place on Saturday, April 23, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, as the second night of back-to-back Bellator events.

The women’s featherweight championship rematch between Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Arlene Blencowe will be the highlight of Bellator 279. This fight was supposed to be the co-main event before Pettis’ injury forced it to become the main event.

Mix will face current RIZIN bantamweight champion and former Bellator champion Kyoji Horiguchi in another Bantamweight Grand Prix quarterfinal encounter at Bellator 279.

FanSided will keep you up to date on all the latest news and highlights.