The latest gem produced by the powerhouse Roufusport camp planted his flag in Legacy Fighting Alliance soil.
Raufeon Stots was stellar in his organizational debut, as he disposed of Ryan Lilley with punches in the third round of their LFA 48 headliner on Friday at the Viaero Center in Kearney, Nebraska. A protégé of former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Bas Rutten, Lilley (9-4) succumbed to blows 3:00 into Round 3.
It took some time for Stots (10-1) to crack his counterpart’s code, but he slowly imposed his well. He staggered Lilley with a crisp right hand in the second round, delivered a takedown and applied his ground-and-pound, nearly finishing it with a rear-naked choke. Stots secured another takedown in the third, climbed to full mount and let the punches fly until referee Bobby Wombacher had seen enough.
Stots, 29, has recorded back-to-back victories since his 15-second knockout loss to Merab Dvalishvili in June 2017.
In the flyweight co-main event, Factory X representative Brandon Royval extended his run of consecutive victories to three with a unanimous decision over Charles Johnson. Royval (8-3) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks from all three judges, proving he had the necessary fortitude to go the distance.
Johnson (7-2) struggled to match the pace of his hyperactive counterpart. Royval spent much of the first round and parts of the second swarming the St. Charles MMA standout with a variety of strikes on the feet and a series of submissions on the ground. Johnson appeared to turn the tide in Round 3, where he assumed top position, unleashed his ground-and-pound and cinched a modified triangle armbar in the waning seconds. However, the finish he needed failed to materialize.
Royval improved to 4-1 in five appearances under the Legacy Fighting Alliance flag.
Meanwhile, Caleb Born kept his perfect professional record intact, as he upset Kassius Holdorf by unanimous decision in their three-round welterweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Born (6-0): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Holdorf (11-6) was woefully ineffective. Operating out of a Chute Boxe affiliate in Kansas City, Missouri, Born distracted him with wining power punches, executed takedowns in all three rounds and advanced to full mount on multiple occasions. The 30-year-old promotional newcomer found another gear down the stretch, as he cut off an increasing desperate Holdorf with another takedown, slid to mount and punished him with steady ground-and-pound.
The 32-year-old Holdorf has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in his career.
In other action, undefeated Disorderly Conduct prospect Ryan MacDonald improved to 10-0, as he submitted Trevor Ward with a guillotine choke 2:06 into the second round of their confrontation at 135 pounds; Kevin Croom put away Darrick Minner with a volley of elbows 2:10 into the second round of their featherweight tilt; former University of Nebraska running back Austin Jones eked out a split decision -- 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 -- over Duane Johnson in a 15-minute battle at 170 pounds; Brock Smith took a unanimous decision from Joe Boerschig in a three-round welterweight affair.