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MVP Decisions Paul Daley At Bellator 216: Here’s What We Learned

Michael ‘Venom’ Page took home the biggest win of his career last night, beating Paul Daley on the cards to advance to the next stage of the Bellator welterweight grand-prix.

And in a lot of ways, the fight itself played out differently to what we might have expected.

Before the bout, we took a look at the rather confusing path taken by Michael ‘Venom’ Page to this matchup.

When Bellator have been willingly throwing their¬†most-promising talent Aaron Pico to the sharks aged just 21, it makes it that bit stranger to see Page matched up against guys who, let’s be real, were simply in there to add to his highlight-reel.

At 31-years-old, he is well and truly in his athletic prime and his matchup with Paul Daley was finally going to be the first true indicator of his ability to hang in there with an elite-level striker.

When Bellator 216 was through, what we actually got was a tentative, but still tactical showdown between the calculated Page and a Daley who did not for one-second look as though he wanted to engage on the feet.

Daley’s career-long Achille’s heel has been his grappling. It’s no secret and for the most part, the losses he has sustained over the course of his time in the sport have come against those who exploited that weakness.

And while some predicted that ‘Semtex’ would attempt to use wrestling to negate the offense offered up by his opponent, he barely threw on the feet for the fight’s twenty-five-minute duration.

So MVP scored the unanimous decision victory.

It was close, but ultimately, it was a call I agreed with.

The big question coming out of this fight was simple – what did we learn about MVP?

Well for starters, the fact that Daley was able to do any work on the ground offensively against him is something of a cause for concern. I’ll admit that the veteran’s offensive skills on the mat are slightly underrated but even still, there were times where Page looked vulnerable – especially when defending takedowns.

On the feet, I’d argue that he looked pretty good – or decent, I suppose.

There was quite a bit of nervous tension to be found within the cage between these two at times Рparticularly in the opening round, which is understandable when you consider both guys and their reputations for ending fights. 

But when he did get going, Page looked good. His shots came with accuracy and solid power. Those flying knees he repeatedly attempted were enough to keep Semtex guessing, making him slightly less inclined to shoot in wildly for the single-leg.

When the shots came, however, he had a surprisingly high rate of success. Was it due to his own newfound prowess for offensive wrestling or the shortcomings of Page in that department?

To be honest, I’d have to lean towards the latter.

So overall, the striking looked solid when he got going.

I don’t know if anyone was doubting that, to be honest, but when you consider that his next fight will be against one of the very best welterweights on the planet Douglas Lima, I think it’s fair to say that MVP is about to take another huge step up in competition.

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

 

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Author: Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at [email protected]