Bellator 282: Danny Sabatello advanced to the Bellator bantamweight Grand Prix semifinal.
Danny Sabatello defeated Leandro Higo via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46), at Bellator 282 on Friday, June 24, 2022, live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
“You know what Big John (McCarthy), I was told if I swore in my post-fight interview I might get fined. So it’s a good thing, I don’t give a fuck. I just beat an absolute animal and not one of you are gonna do shit. You want to do something? Come in here right now and do something,” said Sabatello who continued to enrage the crowd with his derogatory comments.
Sabatello then called for Bellator interim bantamweight champion Raufeon Stots, who was working as a commentator. The two engaged in a heated confrontation before McCarthy interview Stots.
“He fucking sucks. That shit was terrible. That shit was terrible. God damn like all you can do is wrestle bro. Oh my god, like hey, I want to say congratulations, to Danny Sabatello because you won yourself an ass whopping. So congratulations! Congratulations,” said Stots.
Before the fight even started, Sabatello started talking trash as the referee gave instructions. The fighters trade strikes in the opening minute. Sabatello landed a double leg takedown. Higo got up but Sabatello brought him down again. Sabatello got one hook in as he controlled the back. Higo rolled but Sabatello was still riding his back. Sabatello landed a couple of knees to the body. With the action stalled, the referee stood up the fighters right before the end of the round.
Sabatello opened the second round with a strong calf kick. Higo responded with his own calf kick. Sabatello attempted a flying knee but miss and immediately went for a takedown, eventually finishing the takedown and taking the back. Again, Sabatello took the back of Higo. As Sabatello tried transitioning, Higo applied a kimura which forced Sabatello to scramble and give up his back. Higo landed several body punches and then landed a high number of elbows to the lat of Sabatello. Higo controlled the remainder of the round.
Sabatello aggressively came across the cage for the third round, landing a pair of calf kicks. Sabatello landed a takedown but Higo grabbed a hold of Sabatello’s neck. Eventually, Sabatello was able to escape and get the top position. After allowing Sabatello to land a couple of big elbows, Higo grabbed on and prevented Sabatello from doing more damage. The crowd was very vocal with their displeasure with the fight. Sabatello broke free and started landing strikes from the top. From the guard, Sabatello landed several powerful elbows.
Higo opened with a calf kick but Sabatello changed levels and landed another takedown. The two battle for positioning, with Sabatello on top and Higo on the bottom. Higo was able to able to fight his way to one knee and eventually up to his feet. Up against the fence, Sabatello landed a knee and tripped Higo but Higo was able to get back up. Sabatello slammed Higo but again Higo was able to get back to a knee. Sabatello landed several knees to Higo’s hamstrings. The crowd continued to boo loudly. With seconds remaining, Higo landed a massive spinning back fist.
Sabatello went for another takedown attempt and after a bit of a struggle got the takedown. Higo went for a choke but Sabatello was able to get his neck out of danger. Higo was able to work back to his feet. The crowd contained to show their displeasure with the fight. Sabatello landed his tenth takedown of the fight. Sabatello continued to control the round with his grappling skills overpowering Higo who did not have the strength to get back to his feet and prevent takedowns.
Higo entered the Grand Prix as Bellator’s sixth-ranked bantamweight. The Brazilian entered Bellator 282 on a three-fight winning streak, however, he missed weight in his last two fights. Higo successfully made weight for the fight against Sabatello.
Sabatello was not in the original Grand Prix field. However, injuries forced James Gallagher and bantamweight champion, Sergio Pettis, to withdraw and undergo surgery. Sabatello defeated Jornel Lugo in a wildcard fight at Bellator 278 to earn a spot in the Grand Prix quarterfinal. Sabatello entered Friday’s fight on a six-fight winning streak and ranked ninth in the division.
In the semifinals, Sabatello will face Stots, who won the interim championship in the Grand Prix quarterfinal when he knocked out Juan Archuleta at Bellator 279.