Bellator 289: Raufeon Stots & Danny Sabatello to settle bitter rivalry in cage

Last updated on .From the section Mixed Martial Arts

Bellator 289 Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Connecticut Date: Friday, 9 December Coverage: Live coverage on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app from 22:30 GMT, with highlights on Saturday 10 December on BBC Three from 20:00 GMT

Raufeon Stots and Danny Sabatello will settle their bitter rivalry in an interim bantamweight title fight at Bellator 289 in Connecticut on Friday.

The American pair have traded insults for several months and are meeting for Stots’ interim title in the semi-finals of the Bantamweight World Grand Prix.

“Once we’re in the cage I have a lot of stuff to say,” Stots told BBC Sport.

“I’ve had back and forths with fighters before where they said things I didn’t agree with but not to this extent.”

The trash talk has become so heated between the pair that Stots feels Sabatello has crossed a line usually drawn in verbal exchanges.

“He’s a bully and I don’t like the way he operates,” Stots said.

“Anybody that I’ve had a disagreement with in the past, I felt like fighting would solve that disagreement and I’d be able to release the feelings and anger towards them I felt by inflicting pain.

“Fighting him will help me feel better.”

Stots, 33, and Sabatello, 29, have been exchanging insults since the pair were matched up inside the cage following Sabatello’s win over Leandro Higo in June.

Although it is not uncommon for MMA fighters to berate each other in the build-up to fights, the rivalry between