Danny Sabatello sees ‘straight fear’ in Raufeon Stots: ‘He’s never been in a fight like this’

After facing off with Raufeon Stots multiple times, Danny Sabatello is convinced he has the mental edge.

Sabatello meets interim bantamweight champion Stots in the Bellator 289 main event Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.

Although Stots (18-1 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) has more experience on paper than Sabatello (13-1 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), the brash 29-year-old thinks he’s in Stots’ head.

“I see straight fear in him,” Sabatello told MMA Junkie Radio. “Ever since my last fight against Leandro Higo, once that was done they brought Raufeon into the cage and I had my middle finger in his face for about five seconds before he actually did anything. I think he was absolutely stunned from there on out and every time I go with him and I see him face-to-face and he’s right next to me, he always has so much nervous energy.

“He’s never been in a fight like this. He’s never had this build-up to a fight. He’s never really talked trash like this before, so the stakes are a little bit higher for him. One thing with me is I believe in mental warfare and I believe in building the pressure because I think that’s when the best Danny Sabatello comes out, is when the light is brighter and there’s more pressure.”

Sabatello thinks that pressure is going to result in Stots trying to take him out early, which will cause him to fatigue.

“I think the lights are going to be a little too bright for him,” Sabatello said. “I think he’s going to be a little bit too heavy on his legs and his arms and he’s going to feel exhausted after one round just because of all that pressure mounting. Whenever you go up against a guy that you hate, and you’re in foreign territory, you just want to knock his f*cking head off.

“So I know he’s going to go out there in that first round and just want to finish me with all his might. But I’m a smart guy. I’m cool, I’m calm, I’m collected. This isn’t foreign territory to me. This is just another f*cking fight to me and I’ll be able to expose him once he gets dog tired.”

Their fight is one of two semifinals in the ongoing bantamweight grand prix. Patchy Mix faces Magomed Magomedov on the other side of the bracket. The winners will fight in the final sometime in 2023.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 289.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie