After coming off a win over Arnold Berdon in December of last year in Victory FC, bantamweight Raufeon Stots has spent all of 2018 waiting to get back into the cage.
The main culprit for Stots has been the unending supply of fights that have fallen through for one reason or another, adding to an already annoying period of inactivity.
“I thought I was scheduled to fight on (Dana White’s) Contender Series but that fell through,” Stots told MMAWeekly.com. “I had some other fights fall through. It’s just been frustrating playing the waiting game.
“Fights falling through maybe sucks more; I feel like you’re expecting that income, you’re expecting that fight, so you’re planning for that. You’ve made sacrifices to get to that point, but you don’t get it. It’s not as frustrating just waiting, but it’s frustrating too.”
For Stots the time off wasn’t completely unproductive, as he’s been able to work on his game and feels like he’ll be a better fighter for the work he’s been able to put into the gym.
“You’re going to see a lot of changes,” said Stots. “I think I’ve progressed a lot from the last fight. It’s still me, but it’s like taking me to the next level.”
On Friday in Kearney, Neb., Stots (9-1) will finally have his first fight of the year when he faces Ryan Lilley (9-3) in a 135-pound main event of LFA 48.
“Ryan is a good opponent,” Stots said. “He’s a KO artist. I have to stay away from his right hand. I have to take him down and mix it up and keep him guessing.
“I like to know a little bit of what he does well. I’m not saying it changes my game plan, but I know what avenues are more advantageous to me to take. I fight differently depending on the opponent and knowing his weaknesses.”
At this point in his career, Stots knows every challenge ahead of him will be a difficult one, which is exactly what he is looking for.
“That’s what I’m in the game to do – to fight better opponents,” said Stots. “To get to the top I have to beat the best.
“As long as I’m fighting and am improving and working towards that goal and building my stock, then cool. The LFA is great because I’ve got the right eyes on me.”