Looking back on his 2018, bantamweight Raufeon Stots can see only one problem with his year. Though he was able to pick up wins in both his fights last year, Stots ended up going to a decision in his second victory. Otherwise, the year went just about as well as Stots could have planned.
“I think I did really well in 2018,” Stots told MMAWeekly.com. “I wish I would have finished my last fight, but I went undefeated under the LFA banner and I feel like I did pretty good. I took out some really good names.
“I fought Ryan Lilly (in September), who was coming off a four knockout streak (and got a third-round TKO victory over him); then I beat Levi Mowles (by unanimous decision in November), who was coming off a good winning streak too.”
Not only did things go about as well as Stots could have hoped inside the cage in 2018, he also feels his development continued with the help of some of the best fighters in the sport.
“My game and development is coming along great,” said Stots. “I’m actually getting better at things that I didn’t (do well before).
“I’ve had a lot of chance to get better, and I’m at the right place to do it (at Roufusport). Guys like Sergio Pettis, Anthony Pettis, and Jared Gordon that I can test my skills against and see how I stack up against high level fighters.”
For his first bout of 2019, Stots (11-1) faces late replacement Ralph Acosta (18-13) in the bantamweight co-main event on Friday at LFA 68 in Prior Lake, Minn.
“I’ll walk (Acosta) down and take control,” Stots said. “I feel like in my fights previous to this is something I’ve been working on: being more aggressive and letting it fly.
“I’m getting to the point where I have good technique and I’m landing good shots. I just to do more of what I’m doing. I’ve just got to go out there and put it on the line. In fights I’m doing the right thing, but I’m not doing enough of it to finish fights or to break the person. I need to start breaking people.”
Should Stots pick up his third straight win, he’ll be looking to make a jump to the next level either in his next fight or at least by the end of 2019.
“I want to go up to the UFC,” said Stots. “It’s at the point where I have a hit list of people I want to fight in the UFC; everybody signed in the last two years that didn’t deserve to be signed before me.
“I have a hit list of all those people and I want to fight all those people when I make it to the UFC just to prove to the UFC and myself that I should have been there a while ago.”