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Bellator's cheeky Danny Sabatello is MMA's "Italian gangster"

Danny Sabatello was an "Italian stallion" for friends and family who grew up. There is no mystery there. His roots go back to Palermo, Sicily, and he loves "Rocky" movies. 

But it was then, before the previous division, my wrestler began to build his own battle heritage, not the fictional ones of Sylvester Stallone's iconic character. rice field. He needed his own Monica.

"I didn't want to make it an" Italian stallion ". It's Rocky Balboa. That's what happened before, "Sabatello told The Post via Zoom this week. "I'm unique. I'm my own person and I wanted my own f-king stuff. So one of my teammates, one of my boys at Purdue, said," The Italian gang. " I still don't know who said it exactly. Of course, they all claimed to have come up with it. But I absolutely loved it. It's actually a great expression of my own.

Currently, the "Italian gang" is paving its own path in mixed martial arts. One is two championship wins and three are $ 1 million in prize money associated with winning the Bantamweight World Grand Prix at Verator. But first, Leandro Higo gets in the way with the Bellator 282 main card at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, in a Friday (9 pm, showtime) tournament quarterfinal match.

The "gang" element is when the 29-year-old Italian-American Chicago, especially the cheeky Sabatello, speaks. His voice is Joe Pesci's dying ringer directly from "Goodfellas". 

Danny Sabatello
Lucas Noonan

After a memorable post, with a legendary actor The comparison was inevitable-fighting an interview after the victory of his dominant decision against Jornell Lugo in April. He has no choice but to mix F-bombs at a pace that blushes the "casino" stars. But Sabatello accepts it and accepts almost anything that is said about him, good or bad.

"They call me Joe Pesci. I love Joe Pesci, so I love it," says Sabatello. "In our lifetime, there is no other Joe Pesci. He is s–t. But after all, people can call me as they please. They You can call me an insult. They can call me a word of praise. F-king has nothing to do with me. "

It's not just the voice. Sabatello's face-to-face combat style and biased beatdown tendencies recall Pesi taking it to Billy Butts in "Goodfellas." Former college wrestlers rely heavily on relentless takedowns and progress to dominant positions, from which they rain and look for submissions. In his first two Bellator games (brett Johns' sudden turmoil and defeating Lugo in the Grand Prix wildcard qualifying), he hasn't dropped a round yet and unanimously 10- against Lugo. Secured 8 rounds.

Sabatello, who officially participated in the tournament, draws Higo, a former bantamweight title challenger. The 33-year-old Brazilian has won three consecutive victories in a recent expedition last May, including retaliation for losing to Darrion Caldwell in the championship. 

However, Higo has recently had problems setting a 135 pound limit, and even if both gain weight on Thursday, Sabatello will not give him a pass. In fact, he doesn't say much about Higo.

Warning: Blasphemy words

"I I won't do it. "I'm blaspheming like him. He's a piece, "Sabatello typically says in a colorful way. "... he lost weight in the last two battles, but he had lost weight before that, so I feel it is my duty and my duty to punish him.

And Sabatello intends long-term punishment. With six consecutive victories, he got into the habit of passing his opponent through a squeezer. For a win in the 2020 Dana White Contender Series, the scorecard will be displayed as 30-26, 30-25, 30-24. The third score is one of the rarest scores found in MMA and is a testament to the beatings he can throw away. 3 round course.

As with all tournament contests, the Friday match is scheduled for five rounds. Extended battles can help Sabatello snap four consecutive victories that couldn't end an opponent after driving seven of the first eight opponents within distance. He advertises that he owns "the best petrol tank in MMA," and he believes 25 minutes will be enough time to prove that he is a better bantamweight.

"If it was up to me, this would be a 10 round fight, so I could beat s-t from him and play with him all the time." Sabatello said. Declare. "Anyway, 5 rounds are better than my style. I can take my time to tie him together, and I'll never run out of gas. And that's what I do after them. Rounds, when I'm going to put a pedal on metal in those championship rounds. He's just struggling to survive. He'll want to get out of it. He's very desperate there. 

"And when he wants me, I'm not going to kick him out of it. I'm going to torture him a little more, and then I I'm going to kick him out of it in those late rounds. "

And if Sabatello achieves his prophecy, he hopes to immediately turn his attention to interim champion Raufeon Stots, who awaits the winner in the tournament semi-finals. please. The "Italian gang" envisions their potential match as "the biggest Verator bantamweight battle in history".

"It screams in [Stots]," Sabatello promises after the battle of Higo. "The good thing is that he speaks trash. Some people think he has a good trash talk. I feel sorry."