During the last decade, one of BellatorThe most successful and notable local prospects have been former WAKO semi-contact kickboxing champion Michael ‘Venom’ Page. After years of training in traditional martial arts, Page made the leap to mixed martial artswhere his elusive and powerful style made him an instant attention grabber.
Page went 3-0 on the regional MMA scenes in the UK and India before signing his first contract with America’s No. 2 promotion. He made his last MMA fight outside of the Bellator cage in 2014 and has been a part of the organization ever since.
Michael Venom Page’s Appeal Was Never About Being The Best
The years that followed the jump from MVP to Bellator were marked by a steady stream of thrilling knockouts and a steady stream of criticism about a lack of meaningful competition. Paramount Global apparently played slowly on Page’s star potential, leading him to an undefeated 14-0 record before throwing him in the cage with former welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
As many had long expected, when faced with an opponent who wasn’t instantly intimidated (or completely washed out by age and cage), MVP’s game seemed a lot less fearsome and dynamic. From Page’s point of view, that 2019 booking felt like a complete disaster.
It’s to his credit, though, that after Bellator slowly redeveloped him with a couple more overpowered fighters and men who weren’t dangerous or dynamic enough to close him out, that MVP got a second chance in Lima in 2021: defeat him by split decision. It was certainly a better performance from Page, he didn’t get knocked out by one, but despite showing his continued danger as a striker, he also showed that there still wasn’t much wrestling or depth for the then 34-year-old. – Old man game.
A fight against Logan Storley for the interim welterweight title the next year exposed that fact a lot. With Page losing a split decision to Storley’s wrestling game. Since then, Page has competed just once in MMA, defeating Goiti Yamauchi via TKO in just 26 seconds in March.
As was always the case, the man has continued to be a standout machine in the right kind of bookings. But there’s no sign that opponents with a reasonable takedown arsenal and strong top game won’t continue to be the kryptonite for MVP powers. Page is at his best when he’s in a promotion designed for him to shine: the UFC lock-box-style matchup, meant to rock elite-level performers in a constant grind of tough fights, he probably has no interest in. be that.
MVP’s boxing interests leave him perfectly positioned for other opportunities
Along with his MMA career, one of the most recent fights Page had been in was not inside the cage, but inside the ring. MVP brought his talent to bare-knuckle boxing last August with a fight against the former UFC talent. mike perry at BKFC 27 in London. Page was unsuccessful, but decently acquittedlosing a majority decision to ‘Platinum’ after the two men initially battled to a 5 round split draw.
Also in the midst of his Bellator career, Page took a pair of traditional rules professional boxing fights in 2017-2018, winning both by knockout. At 36, the man certainly doesn’t have any kind of full career ahead of him as a top-level boxer. But in the current climate of celebrity boxing crossovers, there are almost certainly opportunities for him to make some solid cash against opponents of similar or lesser skill.
Those are the kinds of opportunities that will be closed to Page if he pursues a contract with the world’s largest MMA promotion. In a recent interview with MMA Junkie’s Farah Hannoun, MVP discussed his plans for the future and the possibility of returning to bare-knuckle boxing.
“It may be something I want to do again,” Page admitted, speaking of his one-off fight at BKFC. “Most of my family and friends would probably be against me on that, but it’s definitely something I could do again, just because I don’t like to take a loss.”
“I love fighting,” Page added, when asked what he’s interested in right now. “I love becoming that person. I love feeling that energy that I get from walking up the ramp to the cage, the ring, the mat, whatever.”
If you really want to keep your options open (pursue a future fight with Mike Perry or try your hands on a pair of boxing gloves again, or even get in a few more kickboxing matches), the UFC isn’t a place that allows it. that kind of creativity happens.
Bellator’s free agency was actually an accident
In fact, in all honesty, fans can see Page ending up right where he started. He has sounded very open to the idea of re-signing with Bellator when all is said and done. There is a possibility of a fight with welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov at some point in the future, and the truth is that Page never intended to try free agency in the first place.
When he fought Yamauchi last spring, the idea that his contract was up was never discussed. All parties only realized that he had fought his deal after he finished the fight and Page started looking for his next fight instead of him.
“[Bellator officials are] normally much sharper on that, and even when you still have a few fights left, they’re already talking about what the progression is,” Page told Ariel Helwani on a recent interview on MMA Hour (transcript via mixed martial arts fights). “So I think there’s a lot going on in the back office with its possible transition as well, and the new owners, and so on.
“So yeah, I definitely feel like they missed something there, but I think things happen for a reason in my opinion. I think it all happened so that I could have this space now and make this decision, say to myself, ‘Okay, let me explore the waters in the ocean of MMA and see what bites.’
MVP has found its place in the combat sports ecosystem as a standout machine on some of the biggest stages combat sports has to offer. A jump to the UFC could mean the possibility of a big future payday in the long run. But it’s far more likely that he’ll end up being swallowed up by a sea of other elite talent looking to make their mark in the Octagon.
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