The company showed promotional smarts, too, in putting the duo together in the quarterfinal round of the Welterweight World Grand Prix tournament.
But once the cage door shuts, it’s on the fighter from there, and a bout which promised fireworks never quite got untracked.
As the bout turned tactical, Page did just enough to get the job done in a close fight. “MVP” stayed undefeated as he earned a unanimous-decision victory. The judges’ scores at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. were 48-47 across the board.
“He didn’t come here to fight,” Page (14-0) said of his foe. “MVP came here to fight. He was bragging about being a knockout artist, but he went for takedowns, and he still didn’t do shit on the floor.”
The opening round was essentially a starting contest, with little in the way of action. But it was also a round in which Page chased and Daley circled away. Page landed the few strikes which were thrown in the round, which was likely enough to give him the nod on the cards.
In the second, Daley went the counterintuitive route, as the veteran kickboxer went to his rarely used wrestling game and scored a takedown. From a sitting position, Daley trapped MVP’s legs and threw punches. Daley again implemented a wrestling gameplan in the third round, with Page having little in the way of an answer.
The fourth round appeared to be more of the same, at least until Page surprisingly reversed position, where he landed his most sustained offense over the round’s final minute.
The fifth was a tale of two rounds, as Daley scored a takedown and maintained a dominant position over the first half of the round. But Page got Daley’s back midway through, worked for a rear-naked choke, and controlled things the rest of the way. That was enough to swing the round, and the fight, in his favor.
With the victory, Page is bracketed to face former Bellator titleholder Douglas Lima in the semifinals.
“It will be an absolute honor to share the cage with someone I respected the second I joined Bellator … I’ve always had massive amounts of respect for this man,” Page said.
Daley (40-17-2) has now dropped two straight and three of four.