While the second half of 2021 didn’t play out like bantamweight Danny Sabatello would have wanted, he nonetheless managed to pick up two wins in his two bouts last year and extend his winning streak to five in a row in the process.
All things considered, Sabatello looks at 2021 as a building year, which will help him set the table for his 2022 campaign.
“The year started off pretty good with a win over Da’Mon Blackshear in Titan for that belt, then shortly thereafter that got a call from Bellator on five days’ notice to fight Brett Johns and went in there and dominated him,” Sabatello told MMAWeekly.com. “I was supposed to fight Johnny Campbell, but then got coronavirus a few days before, and it wasn’t going to be rescheduled, and it was hard finding fights thereafter.
“It was a good part of a year, but it’s just frustrating that I wasn’t able to finish that year off strong and get more fights in. But here we are today and I’m ready for a better 2022.”
Sabatello is happy with the fact that he was able to see the growth in his game in 2021 that has him becoming more well-rounded and complete as a fighter.
“Earlier in my career I would say that was ground-heavy and was more of a grappler with my wrestling background, but now I don’t look at myself as a wrestler, but a mixed martial artist,” said Sabatello. “I’m as comfortable on the ground as I am on the feet.
“I feel I’m a very comfortable fighter. I don’t feel the fight has to go into any certain area in order for me to get a victory. I think I’m becoming a whole mixed martial artist and I’m confident in my skillset against anybody.”
On April 22 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sabatello (11-1) looks to pick up his sixth win in a row when he faces Jornel Lugo (8-0) in a 135-pound main card bout at Bellator 278.
“I think he’s not on my level. I don’t think he’s at the caliber of fighter I am,” Sabatello said of Lugo. “I know he’s 8-0 and undefeated, and there’s something to be said about that, and he shows up to fight, but he’s never fought many tough guys or fought Danny Sabatello.
“If you look at his skillset next to mine I’m away ahead of him. I plan on torturing this guy and beat him everywhere. I never want him to forget the fight he had with Danny Sabatello – and he’s never going to. I want to get in there and inflict pain on him and then finish him in maybe the second or third round.”
Sabatello has an idea of how he’d like the remainder of 2022 to play out, but he does note that it’s not completely in his hands, so he’ll have to see how things play out this year to see if it will be the kind of year he wants it to be.
“That will depend on how Bellator does this grand prix,” said Sabatello. “I want to become the Bellator champion and win the grand prix tournament. If I don’t get the opportunities to be in the finals for that tournament, then win all my fights. I want to win this tournament and win all my fights this year, hopefully going 4-0.”