Michael “Venom” Page agonizingly missed out on a Bellator title in his last outing. Now the Londoner is ready to go again, and he believes he’s one big win away from getting another shot at the gold.
Page lost out to Logan Storley via razor-thin split decision at Bellator 281 in May 2022 in a fight that even Bellator president Scott Coker admitted he thought the Englishman had won.
But now “MVP” is back, and ready for another pivotal matchup as he takes on fellow welterweight contender Goiti Yamauchi in San Jose on Friday, March 10.
It’s a bout that pits Page’s striking style against Yamauchi’s superb grappling game, and Page said he’s very familiar with the Brazilian’s skillset.
“We’ve fought on the same shows many a time,” he told the media ahead of fight night in San Jose.
“As a fan of the sport and a fan of high-profile names, he’s been one of them. He wasn’t in my weight class at the time, but now he’s an opponent. With the highest submission rate, you can’t ignore him.
“I think it’s a great clash of styles, and I’m looking forward to it. I believe it’s as simple as: I want him in my arena, and he wants me in his arena. He said I’m underestimating his striking; I’m not underestimating his striking, I’m just saying his level isn’t at my level. I can put my ego to one side, accept that, and knock you out because that’s what I do best.”
While Page carries the striking advantage heading into the matchup, he also finds himself with other notable advantages. Page stands five inches taller than the former lightweight contender, and has a five-inch reach advantage. For a man with his elusiveness and striking prowess, that would appear to give “MVP” a very handy edge. But, as Page explained, stats can be deceiving, and other factors are at play.
“Outside of the obvious advantages of size and reach, combat doesn’t work like that,” he said.
“I actually feel wrestlers are the only guys that can be undersized and be fine competing in a division above themselves. They have the great equalizer of making you the same size: putting you on your back. I think wrestlers get away with being slightly smaller, and I think if you’re a high-level jiu jitsu guy — like he is — you get the same benefits.”
With Page operating at the very top of the welterweight division, and Yamauchi forcing himself into the championship picture with back-to-back finishes, including a TKO of former title challenger Neiman Gracie, it’s a bout that has significant ramifications for Bellator’s 170-pound class. Indeed, Page said he sees the bout as a clear eliminator for the welterweight title.
“I think that’s what it is. It makes the most sense that that’s what it is,” he said.
“I don’t see anyone else on our level. I think the winner of this fight fights for the title next, after the fight between (Yaroslav) Amosov and (Jason) Jackson.”