Morning Report: Paul Daley blasts ‘ridiculous’ matchmaking after Michael ‘Venom’ Page’s latest knockout win
Over the weekend, Michael “Venom” Page added yet another impressive KO to his ever-increasing highlight reel when he starched Gianni Melillo with a walk-off right hand knockout at Bellator London. The knockout once again raised questions about the level of competition “MVP” has faced throughout his Bellator career, with perhaps his harshest critic coming from the Bellator commentary team itself.
At Bellator London, Paul Daley was in attendance for Bellator as a fight night analyst; an interesting choice considering Daley and Page have a long history of animosity towards one another. The two fought to a decision earlier this year in a fight that didn’t live up to expectations and left Daley feeling like he was robbed. And after watching Page once again make quick work of an overmatched opponent and then calling for a title shot afterwards, Daley let his feelings on MVP – and the way Bellator keeps matching him up – be known.
“This is ridiculous,” Daley said (h/t MMAJunkie). “You can’t continually beat these kind of opponents. Yes, he knocks them out, but he’s expected to knock them out. What does this prove, the fact that he knocked out a guy nobody will remember? It proves nothing. It proves nothing at all. Why didn’t he do that to me? Why didn’t he do that to Douglas Lima? Because he’s not of that caliber.
“I need to see more from Michael Page, in my opinion, whether it’s a rematch with me or a rematch with another top-tier fighter. Does a win over this guy warrant a title shot? In my opinion it doesn’t. Yes, he’s a star. Yes, people love him. But can he really fight? The two times he’s stepped up, on paper, he’s got a ‘victory’ over me. Most people, including me, thought he lost that fight. Second time he stepped up against the champion, who I went three rounds with, he gets knocked out cold. So he needs to fight solid opponents instead of feeding him these guys.”
It’s a common refrain levied against Page. The former kickboxing champion has become a star in MMA on the back of some excellent performances, but the quality of his opposition has continually been viewed to be lacking. Now granted, Melillo was a short-notice replacement, but MVP’s original opponent, Derek Anderson, is also a former lightweight, adding fuel to the argument that MVP has been treated with kid gloves by Bellator. Daley says he’d like for Bellator to remove those kid gloves and have Bellator book the rematch next year.
“He couldn’t do what he normally does to everybody else (when we fought),” Daley said. “In my mind I thought I won that fight. The only way to make it more convincing to everybody else is to take him out before the judges. If that fight is going to happen it needs to be a big fight. It needs to happen here in 2020, at Wembley in 2020.”
Fans may not be clamoring for that rematch though as their first fight left much to be desired. Though fans expected an explosive striking match, instead Daley brought a grappling heavy gameplan to the fight and ended up losing a tepid decision because of it. Daley ultimately writes that fight off because the stakes of it – advancement in the welterweight grand prix and a shot at $1 million – made him prioritize getting the win in the easiest fashion possible. But if fans don’t want to see that rematch, that’s fine with Daley anyway. He’d rather get a different rematch anyway, one with current welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
“I think Douglas Lima is the more exciting fight for me,” Daley said. “We went three rounds, and now he’s the welterweight champion again, the grand prix champion, and one of the very best fighters in the world.”
Unfortunately for Daley, Lorenz Larkin is supposedly next up for Lima. Daley says that’s fine though. If in the meantime Bellator decides they do want to test Page again, Daley would be more than happy to oblige.
“If they give me the contract, and it’s the right contract (for Page), we don’t need the hype, we don’t need nothing,” Daley said. “Let’s just fight. I know I’m better than him. I know I won the first time, and I can do it again. Do I hate the guy? All animosity? No. I just want to prove I’m better and that he’s not of the caliber that everybody thinks he his.”
Results. Michael ‘Venom’ Page scores walk-off KO of Gianni Melillo at Bellator London.
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That’s a good cut.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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