Raufeon Stots has fought for several top professional MMA promotions. As a matter of fact, you’d have to go back to 2017 to find the last time he actually lost. This weekend, Stots will begin his campaign under the Bellator banner in Hawaii against, native, Cheyden Leialoha. But before signing with Bellator, Stots sat down with us to discuss some frustrations he has run into in his fight career. Specifically, Stots has had a hard time finding fights.
“It’s pretty frustrating but I think from the beginning it’s been hard to find me fights so I’ve gotten accustomed to it cause no one wants to fight a wrestler,” Stots stated.
“It’s dampening but I’ve been fortunate with the organizations I’ve fought for. They are more times than not able to find somebody to dance with … it sucks but being around the right people kind of helps,” he continued.
The Milwaukee native was very happy to find out he would be signing with Bellator, especially considering his first fight will be in Hawaii in December.
“Bellator out here thuggin’,” Stots joked.
“When I get asked about ‘why Bellator?’ I feel like Bellator is an awesome organization and they are the perfect organization for me. I feel like Bellator does do a lot of things that kind of fit my style of fights fit my style of promoting fights and I’m excited about it.”
Stots trains at Roufusport, a gym filled with top level talent from the midwest. As a matter of fact, Roufusport works with a few notable names in Bellator currently with Emmanuel Sanchez and Sergio Pettis.
“I feel like Roufusport has opened so many doors in my life, the coaching staff to my teammates,” he admitted.
“I couldn’t ask for a better gym. Better teammates. Better coaches. Just being around Roufusport championship mentality, that a lot of these fighters have, that these coaches have … I’m just really appreciative,” he finished.
Stots steps into the Bellator card with a tough matchup against a one-loss Cheyden Leialoha. Stots knows the importance of winning his first fight, but is also humbled to be fighting Leialoha in his backyard.
“I’m walking into his backyard but his backyard is where the barbeque is at,” Stots joked.
“Where everybody is partying. It’s like 11 degrees here in Milwaukee so its an honor for me to go to Cheyden’s backyard and fight in his hometown,” he continued.
After the niceties where discussed, Stots went into his gameplan for his first Bellator match. Stots, a wrestler, was paried up with another high level wrestler in Leialoha. Stots did mention the intrigue in fight styles changing when two opponents are equally matched.
“Usually when you have two wrestlers going at it, it ends up on the feet,” Stots claimed.
“I would say I’m the better wrestler but in fights you never know. You never know what’s going to happen so you have to be prepared for anything. And I like that about Cheyden. Cheyden is pretty much good everywhere. I don’t see a lot of holes in his game so I’ve got to go out there and inch him out to submission or inch him out to knockout.”
While Stots gave Leialoha credit for his own fight record and ability, his plan is simple. Stots wants to end this fight without going into the third round. Stots will look for an opening during the fight and finish the fight in the second round.
Catch Raufeon Stots v. Cheyden Leialoha at Bellator 236 in Honolulu, HI Sat. Dec. 21. live on DAZN.