Bellator returns after a three-week break with Juan Archuleta and Sergio Pettis competing for the bantamweight title in the main event. There are 12 brilliant fights in store this Friday at Bellator 258, with the final matchup in the light heavyweight grand-prix quarterfinal taking place in the co-main event. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson takes on Jose Augusto, who replaces the injured Yoel Romero.
Josh Hill vs Raufeon Stots Fight Preview
Josh “Gentleman” Hill holds a record of 20 wins and 3 losses. The Canadian started his professional MMA career in 2009 and he was a force to be reckoned with from the get-go, winning his first 10 fights. Hill was unbeaten as a pro for a whole five and a half years, but he did lose an exhibition bout when he competed on The Ultimate Fighter Season 18. A majority decision went his way against Patrick Holohan in his first bout in the competition, but in the quarterfinal, he lost unanimously on the judges’ scorecards to Mike Wootten.
The first official loss for Hill came against UFC bantamweight Marlon Moraes in their headlining event for the World Series of Fighting Bantamweight Championship. After five rounds, Moraes retained his title, winning on a unanimous decision. Hill loves to explore the promotions and just simply compete. He fought four more times before facing Moraes in a rematch for the belt. Hill was finished this time around, losing in the second round.
Since then, Hill has shown his determination to bounce back and achieve his goals at fighting at the top level. He’s won six of his last seven bouts since the Moraes rematch, unfortunately, the loss came on a split decision against Taylor Lapilus. Hill has been extremely impressive in his two fights since joining Bellator in 2020, outclassing both of his opponents, Vinicius Zani and Erik Perez, on a unanimous decision.
Hill’s opponent for his next will be Raufeon “Supa” Stots, who is ranked 4th in the newly made Bellator rankings. Stots holds a fantastic record of 15 wins and only one loss in his career, which came against UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili in 2017. Stots has competed three times in Bellator since making his promotional debut in 2019, where he was victorious on a unanimous decision against Cheyden Leialoha.
Stots submitted his second opponent in Bellator, Cass Bell, in the second round. Whilst his last appearance came at Bellator 253 in November 2020 where he beat Keith Lee on a unanimous decision. Stots has three TKO/KOs, four submissions, and eight decision victories on his record.
Josh Hill: On the Hunt for Gold
At the age of 21, Josh Hill started to take an interest in Mixed Martial Arts and only one year later he knocked out his first opponent Vito Attanasi. The rest is history. I spoke with Hill ahead of his matchup against Stots, in potentially the biggest fight of his career.
So, early on in your career, you were on season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. Did you feel any pressure going into the series as an undefeated fighter at the time?
Josh Hill – “Absolutely. Everyone just expected me to win because I was 9-0. I put too much pressure on myself and I lacked self-confidence and the mental skills to channel my anxiety.”
How did you pick yourself up after losing to Mike Wootten on the show?
Josh Hill – “Just get over it. Try to keep a short-term memory and then prove the doubters wrong. And getting a first-round KO in my first fight back helped.”
You’ve explored several promotions in your career, do you feel you learn more as a fighter going on these different experiences?
Josh Hill – “For sure. All experiences contribute to becoming a more well rounded fighter.”
Two of your three losses came against Marlon Moraes, how would you describe your feelings and thoughts on those losses?
Josh Hill – “The first loss sucks because it was my first official loss but I think I proved to many people that I am a top guy in the world. The second fight I felt great until he caught me and it being the only time in my life I’ve been finished it sucked and was humbling for sure, but I know that’s part of the game.”
How impressed with yourself were you in your two victories in Bellator?
Josh Hill – “I was impressed. I beat two good guys and showcased many different skills, the only thing lacking was the finish.”
Do you know your opponent Raufeon Stots well? And do you have any predictions for the fight?
Josh Hill – “I know he has a good wrestling background and trains at a good gym and he’s well rounded. I think it is an exciting matchup and I obviously see myself as the victor.”
Finally, you’re currently ranked 7th, with Stots 4th in the rankings. Will you have one eye on the title fight next weekend if you’re victorious, or do you see any other challengers you could face in the division?
Josh Hill – ” I feel this is a #1 contender fight, the winner should be fighting for the title next!”
Featured image credit to Embed from Getty Images