Prospect in the Spotlight (May 31-June 1): Raufeon Stots

Introduction

Friday, May 31st, American bantamweight prospect Raufeon Stots will be in action for LFA, where he will be looking to score a win in the co-main event opposite Ralph Acosta. He will be looking to score yet another win, as Stots looks to potentially earn a UFC contract. Stots represents Roufusport, one of the most respected camps in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Wrestling: Stots is a Division II National Champion wrestler from University of Nebraska at Kearney and it shows in the cage. It’s his bread and butter. He enters well on single and double legs from the outside because he’s quick. He has very solid transitions when he gets inside, transitioning from takedown to mat to advantageous position quickly. See his fight with Ryan Lilley, where he did this several times. He’s also very good in scrambles and usually ends up in his preferred position. On the mat, he has good ground-and-pound which really opens up his opponents. When grappling against the cage, he’s very good at controlling his opponents. Altogether, whether grappling while standing or on the mat, Stots is going to usually have the overall advantage.

Natural Gifts: There are some things you cannot teach and are just natural, and Stots has those gifts. He is an outstanding natural athlete in all categories. He’s physically strong, but he has a drivetrain type of power and an explosiveness that allows him to be the dominant fighter he is. In addition to his power, he has great agility and lateral movement. His quickness is helpful when getting in on strikes or shooting. He has great cardio, which is important because he has an absolutely relentless pace. Some of this is developed as an athlete, but much of this is based on his natural ability.

Needs Improvement

Striking Intangibles: Stots is working with Duke Roufus and his squad in Milwaukee, which makes sense because he doesn’t have a striking background. In his time there, his striking has gotten better, but he still needs to develop and clean some aspects of his game. A positive is that he has knockout power and throws kicks pretty well, but he does need to throw more combinations than just one strike at a time. Also, he can get flat footed from time to time and needs to move his head off of center a bit more. If he threw more feints that would also help not only his striking, but make his already strong takedowns more lethal. On a side note, although he was brutally knocked out by Merab Dvalishvili, that’s not a reflection of his skill or lack thereof. That was a 15-second highlight reel knockout that felt more “bang bang” than due to a lack of skill on the part of Stots.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder: Stots has already been considered to be signed by the UFC and has been on the radar for a couple of years. An impressive win here would certainly be enough to pull the trigger on the Roufusport product. Stots definitely has the skills. He’s well-rounded and tough. He’s also exciting. Those are things Dana White and co. look for in a fighter. Will Stots ever be a title challenger in the UFC? I have my doubts. But there are plenty of guys on the bantamweight roster that he can beat. He has staying power, even in a division as stacked as 135.

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