CHICAGO – Danny Sabatello was born in Chicago and grew up on the North Side of the city.
But Wednesday, he found himself in position to have to defend his origin story when his bitter rival Raufeon Stots said he didn’t grow up in the kind of rough-and-tumble streets of Chicago that would make his “Italian Gangster” name appropriate. Instead, Stots said he’s from the suburbs, dresses too “metrosexual” to be tough, and generally is too pretty.
Sabatello thinks Stots, who beat him by split decision 11 months ago to win the interim bantamweight title, which he lost to Patchy Mix in April when Mix won the $1 million grand prix, is worried about what changes he’ll have made this time around to show his home fans.
“I don’t feel pressure at all,” Sabatello told MMA Junkie and other media members at the pre-fight media day for Bellator 301. “I did win the last fight with Raufeon, but now we’re in my backyard in Chicago – it’s going to be different now. It’s a dream matchup. When Bellator gave me the call about this fight, I was surprised he was awake after Patchy Mix knocked him out. But since he was awake, I took the fight. It’s really good because we hate each other. He hates me because I’m ridiculously good-looking. We’ll figure it out Friday night.
“This fight, I’m going to have much more volume compared to last fight. Everyone knows I dominated this guy last fight, and I’m going to do the same this fight. Look at the betting odds for this fight and you’ll see I’m the favorite. I’lll be kicking, punching and elbowing him the whole fight. I see myself finishing the fight this time around.”
Sabatello (14-3 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) talked about has changes, the rivalry with Stots (19-2 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) and more at the pre-fight media day for Bellator 301.
Check out Sabatello’s full interview in the video above ahead of the event, which takes place Friday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 301.