Welterweight strikers Daley and Larkin clash on September 23

Bellator welterweights Paul Daley and Lorenz Larkin will test one another’s striking – and all-round game – when they collide on September 23 at the SAP Center in San Jose at Bellator 183.

There had been talk of Daley facing bitter British rival Michael ‘Venom’ Page, but that idea was shot down by a Page social media post, in which he claimed Daley didn’t want the fight, and was then taken off the table altogether – at least in the short-term – when Page announced his intentions to try his hand at professional boxing.

Now, with Daley vs. Page a no-go for the time being, Lorenz Larkin, as good a striker as anyone at welterweight, will provide a stern test of Daley’s title credentials.

Indeed, both men still have title aspirations, despite coming off defeats. Daley, 33, was out-grappled and submitted in two rounds in May, while Larkin, 30, fell short in a Bellator title fight with champion Douglas Lima in June. With both in need of a win, there’s plenty at stake on September 23.

“Larkin is overrated,” said Daley, 39-15-2. “I think that I gave Douglas Lima more of a fight when we fought. I brought it to him 100%. I don’t feel like Larkin did that. Not to mention, I don’t think Lima feared Larkin, and as a result, he underperformed. I think even Rory (MacDonald) feared me standing up, granted he has the superior ground skills, but he feared a stand-up exchange with me. Let’s see what Larkin does in San Jose.”

Larkin, 18-6 (1 NC), meanwhile, added: “From the get-go with Scott (Coker), I made it clear that I want to stay active and get right back in there following my fights. After Bellator NYC I got a call and I was chomping at the bit to take another high-level, competitive fight and right now, Paul (Daley) is that guy.

“How it is in the division right now, you have your top guys and the guys who are trying to get where Paul and I already are. I just fought for the title, and Daley fought the guy who is going to fight for the belt next, so I think this fight clearly positions the winner to be next in line.”

The Bellator MMA 183 event is headlined by a fight between former lightweight champion Benson Henderson and Patricky Pitbull. It also features Roy Nelson’s heavyweight debut against Javy Ayala.