British welterweight stars Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley have been side-eyeing each other for the best part of two years amid rumours of a fight between the pair. And the most hotly anticipated all-British clash in MMA history will finally take place in the quarter-finals of the $1 million Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix tournament this Saturday night.
The fight takes place at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, and is the first live Bellator MMA show to be aired on Sky Sports following the announcement of a deal between the promotion and the broadcasting giants. The fight has been dubbed “The Eubank vs Benn of mixed martial arts” and the parallels are impossible to ignore.
For Benn read Daley, the veteran power puncher whose willingness to stand and trade with the world’s best has marked him out as one of the most exciting strikers in the welterweight division. For Eubank read Page, a self-styled one-off whose unique approach to the sport has seen him gain almost as many critics as he has fans.
The rivalry between the pair has been simmering for the past two years and it seemed that a clash between the pair was inevitable. Now, after much waiting, they’re finally going to throw down inside the Bellator cage.
POWER VERSUS PRECISION
There’s no doubt that Daley holds the edge when it comes to pure, unadulterated punch power. He has finished an incredible 32 of his 40 career wins, with 30 of those finishes coming by KO or TKO. Tests have shown that if you go toe to toe with “Semtex,” chances are you’ll finish it looking up at the arena lights.
But Page is a different type of striker. His KO proficiency is based more from his timing than from his pure raw power, but it’s no less impressive than what we’ve seen from Daley. “MVP” has finished 11 of his 13 wins, with eight coming by KO/TKO.
Both men have an eye for the spectacular, too. Check out their stunning flying knee knockouts, with Daley starching Brennan Ward and Page finishing Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos with similarly stunning techniques.
RANGE IS THE KEY
Both men possess world-class striking, but they approach their bouts in very different ways. Daley loves to close the distance, get inside the pocket and throw bombs, while Page prefers to stay on the outside and pick off his prey as they look to step in. That combination should make for a fascinating contest, with the man who can dictate the range of the fight likely to run out victorious.
If it’s a fight in a phone booth, it’s advantage Daley, but in order to get the fight to close quarters he’ll have to run the gauntlet of Page’s strikes.
IT SURELY HAS TO END BY KO
With two of the very best strikers in Bellator going toe to toe, it seems inconceivable that we’ll see anything other than a TKO/KO stoppage win for one of them, but who’s going to get the win?
While Daley has the edge in punch power and experience, Page has the more diverse striking skillset, as well as the reach advantage.
With Daley needing to close the distance and Page preferring to pick opponents off from the outside, it meant that Page effectively has the first chance to land his best work before Daley. That advantage makes him the favourite to win in my eyes, and the Paddy Power oddsmakers appear to agree.
“MVP” is the 2/5 favourite, an en even-money shot to win by KO/TKO. Daley, meanwhile is 7/4 to win, and 3/1 to win by KO/TKO.
Interestingly, the majority of Bellator fighters in this video picked Daley, which just goes to show how tough to pick this one is.
To win: 2/5
To win by KO/TKO: EVENS
To win by submission: 10/1
To win by points: 9/2
To win: 7/4
To win by KO/TKO: 3/1
To win by submission: 19/1
To win by points: 9/1
It’s a closer fight than the odds above suggest, so if you strongly fancy Daley to win, there’s certainly value waiting for you. But I just have a feeling MVP will walk his rival onto something and score another highlight-reel finish, most likely in the later rounds as Daley becomes more frustrated by Page’s fighting style.