LONDON – Knockdowns and wrist control proved crucial as England’s Michael “Venom” Page claimed a split-decision win over Douglas Lima in their Bellator 267 rematch.
Page (20-1 MMA, 16-1 BMMA) dropped Lima (32-10 MMA, 14-6 BMMA) three times over the course of a tense three-round battle that saw both men sent to the canvas during their main event battle at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Page opened up as relaxed as ever and dropped Lima with the first punch of the fight as the Wembley crowd roared its approval. Lima stalked Page around the cage, but Page immediately struck with another right hand that decked Lima for a second time.
With the crowd’s chants of “MVP!” ringing around the arena, Page continued to circle the outer reaches of the cage then, after making Lima swing and miss, connected with a spinning heel kick. Lima composed himself, then landed his first major offensive move of the fight as he shot in and took the Englishman to the mat.
Lima shunted Page against the cage and looked to posture up from inside Page’s guard. Page initially controlled Lima’s hands well to prevent the Brazilian from landing any offense, but Lima managed to eventually connect with a pair of powerful ground strikes.
Lima stood up and backed away, but Page had learned his lesson from the first fight and remained on the canvas and opted to fend off the former champion with his legs for the remainder of the round, rather than risk getting caught by Lima in the process of standing up. Round 2 started with Lima cuffing Page with a left hand, but Page stepped in and connected with a nasty leg kick that forced Lima to back away.
Page was back in his comfort zone as he made Lima miss with shots, then connected with a two-punch combination, finishing with a head-kick that narrowly missed its target. Lima continued to hold the center of the cage, and clipped Page as he looked to leap in with a big right hand. Page took the shot well, however, and returned to the outside once again.
A flying knee from Page missed its mark and Lima countered with a right hand as the Brazilian started to time the Englishman’s attacks. A solid leg kick, then an attempted head kick, from Lima gave Page a moment’s pause, but the Brit fired back with another right hand that sent Lima to the canvas for the third time in the fight.
The final round started with Page setting his range with a jab to the body as he bounced around the outside looking to strike. Lima closed the distance, then dropped Page with a left hook, but the Englishman scrambled his way out of trouble and back to his feet.
Page recomposed himself and, after a jumping switch kick fell narrowly short, connected with a solid right hand. But Lima kept the pressure on and continued to stalk Page around the cage, with his right hand getting ever closer to “MVP’s” chin. With just over two minutes remaining, Lima snatched a takedown, and Page hugged the Brazilian close to smother any offense from the Brazilian. However, Lima managed to free his hands and scored with a big ground strike before Page looked to connect with an up-kick.
Page continued to frustrate Lima with his wrist control off his back and, as the final seconds ticked down, Lima could manage only a solitary elbow for his efforts.
A bout that threatened a knockout finish ended up going all the way to the judges’ scorecards and, after a nervous wait, the London crowd erupted as Page was declared the split-decision winner with scores of 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 from the cageside judges.
During his post-fight interview, “MVP” made his case for a title shot, leaving the idea of a rubber match with Lima off the table for now.
Check out the full Bellator 267 results below:
Michael Page def. Douglas Lima via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Leah McCourt def. Jessica Borga via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Andrew Fisher vs. Robert Whiteford ruled a no contest due to unintentional eye pokes – Round 2, 2:50
Luke Trainer def. Yannick Bahati via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:50
Tim Wilde def. Yves Landu via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Lewis Long def. Michael Dubois via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 0:41
Davy Gallon def. Kane Mousah via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Elina Kallionidou def. Petra Castkova via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 2:07
Jack Grant def. Nathan Jones via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 2:16
Fabacary Diatta def. Nathan Rose via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Chiara Penco def. Katharina Dalisda via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:45
Khurshed Kakhorov def. Jair Junior via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Photos: Bellator 267 ceremonial weigh-ins and faceoffs