Bellator books Michael ‘Venom’ Page – Douglas Lima 2

Bellator MMA announced today that they have finalized a welterweight rematch that fans have been waiting on. The promotion announced that they have finalized the matchup between Michael “Venom” Page (19-1) and Douglas Lima (32-9).

The fight will take place at Bellator 267 on October 1st. The fight will take place in Page’s hometown of London and the rematch will headline the card. This rematch is a couple of years in the making after the two first fought back in 2019.

At Bellator 221, these two met for the first time. Page was doing his thing and showing off a lot of flashy striking. However, during one his entries, Lima took his footing and planted Page. When Page was trying to get up, he was caught with a perfect shot and Lima put him out cold.

That is still the only loss in Page’s professional career. The striker has been saying that Bellator needed to run this back for the last two years and now they finally are. However, the Bellator welterweight title won’t be on the line after Lima lost the title last month.

Bellator 267

While Douglas Lima won back at Bellator 221, he’s going to be the one coming into this fight with no momentum. When these two fight in October, Lima will be carrying a two-fight losing streak and neither fight was particularly competitive.

Meanwhile, Page is 5-0 with four knockouts since the first time these two met. Most recently, Page fought back in May when he broke the nose of Derek Anderson and stopped him after the first round. Despite Lima having won the first fight, Page will likely be the betting favorite at Bellator 267.

These two men were destined to fight again and I can’t wait to see it. Page has long talked about his desire to move over to the UFC once he completes everything he needs to in Bellator. The two things he wanted to do were avenge the loss to Lima and win the Bellator title. He gets his chance at the first one in October.

Michael “Venom” Page eying a move to the UFC

One of Bellator MMA’s biggest stars is eyeing his exit to jump over to the UFC. Michael “Venom” Page (19-1) has been fighting for Bellator since 2014 and that’s where he’s blossomed into a star of the sport.

MVP is known for his funky yet elite striking that often bewilders opponents. Page has won five fights in a row and four of them have come via knockout or TKO. Whenever MVP fights, there are fans that will tune in to watch.

MVP has always been a loyal Bellator fighter, but he’s always had the UFC in mind. Page told Michael Bisping this week that the UFC was the reason he got into MMA and he believes they are the reason the majority of athletes decide to train in MMA.

While the UFC has always been Page’s inspiration, they’ve yet to be a destination for the English striker. However, Page is eyeing a potential move to the UFC once he’s finished up with some business in Bellator.

The main thing for Page is winning the Bellator welterweight title. His lone career loss came against Douglas Lima and he wants to get that back. If he can get that back and win the Bellator title, he will be ready to jump to the UFC.

MVP in the UFC?

Page told Bisping this week, “Yes, I enjoy Bellator and I enjoy where I’m at. But, I definitely feel like I need to touch the UFC at some point. There’s some great matchups to be made over there… I don’t know when, but I definitely see myself going there.”

It’s pretty clear that Page wants to make the move to the UFC once he accomplishes his goals with Bellator. MVP stated that he wants to challenge himself and seemed to clearly indicate that the biggest challenges were in the UFC.

That was one of the main deciding factors when Michael Chandler decided to make the jump last year. As of right now, I believe that MVP will be getting the winner of the Douglas Lima – Yaroslav Amosov title fight that’s in a few weeks.

If MVP grabs the Bellator title, it will just be a matter of time before we see him venture over to the UFC. To me, MVP inside the octagon is a when and not an if at this point.

Bellator 258 Preview: Michael “Venom” Page – Derek Anderson

Tomorrow night on the main card of Bellator 258, we will see the return of one of the more dynamic strikers on the roster. The entertaining Michael “Venom” Page (18-1) makes the walk for the first time in 2021 against Derek Anderson (17-3).

Since making his Bellator debut back in 2014, MVP has been a puzzle that only one man has been able to solve. Page has used his dynamic striking and unique style to fluster the entire welterweight roster.

Back at Bellator 221, MVP got his shot at the welterweight title against Douglas Lima. Page was doing well at times, but ultimately got clipped and put to sleep by the Bellator welterweight champion.

Since that loss, MVP has been trying to work his way back to a title shot. He will enter the cage tomorrow night riding a four-fight win streak. Should he win, he will definitely get the next crack at the title.

However, Derek Anderson is looking to play spoiler at Bellator 258. Anderson has always been considered one of the better Bellator prospects, but his inactivity has really hurt him. He’s won three in a row, but this is only his sixth fight since the start of 2016.

However, this is the shortest turnaround he’s had in this stretch. We last saw him in November at Bellator 251 where he knocked out Killys Mota. Should he get the win tomorrow night, it would be hard to deny him of a shot at the title.

Bellator 258 Prediction

I’m extremely excited about this matchup at Bellator 258. Both men have good striking and both men have power to put the other out. One thing about Anderson’s game that I love is how well-rounded he is.

If you look at his seventeen wins, six are by knockout, six are by submission, and five are by decision. Wherever the fight goes, Derek Anderson will be comfortable. The key for him tomorrow is going to be mixing in his grappling.

For MVP, the game plan should be simple. That game plan should say keep this fight on the outside. If this is a kickboxing matchup from the outside, MVP is getting the win at Bellator 258.

Ultimately, I think you’re going to see a mix of both. I think you’ll see these two in the clinch some, but I also expect a lot of distance striking. In the end, I think it’s a closer fight than some thing, but MVP edges this one by landing the more significant shots.

Prediction: Michael “Venom” Page by Unanimous Decision

Bellator books Michael “Venom” Page – Derek Anderson

Bellator has finalized a big time welterweight matchup for one of their upcoming cards. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was the first to report today that the promotion had finalized a matchup between Michael “Venom” Page (18-1) and Derek Anderson (17-3, 1 NC).

The matchup will take place on the main card at Bellator 258 on May 7th. Originally, these two men were supposed to meet back in 2017. However, MVP was forced out of the matchup and they haven’t been rescheduled until now.

Derek Anderson will enter the Bellator cage on May 7th having gone 5-1 in his last six matchups. The lone loss came to Derek Campos by decision, but after that loss, Anderson has won three fights in a row.

The last time we saw Anderson was at Bellator 251 in November. Anderson took on Killys Mota and was able to win with a second round soccer kick for the knockout. He’s looked very impressive over his last few wins.

The one issue with Anderson has been his activity level. As mentioned, he’s gone 5-1 in his last six Bellator matchups, but those spanned over five years. Hopefully we will start to see Derek Anderson be a little more active moving forward.

Bellator 258 Welterweight Matchup

Michael “Venom” Page is one of the flashiest fighters that Bellator has. He’s got a very interesting striking style and he goes for techniques you normally don’t see in a MMA matchup.

However, his style led to his one loss against Douglas Lima back in 2019 by knockout. Since that knockout loss at Bellator 221, MVP has gone 4-0. The last time we saw him was at Bellator 248 last October.

Page took on Ross Houston in that matchup. MVP had a lot of momentum leading into that fight having won three straight by knockout. However, the Houston fight failed to live up to expectations. MVP still got the decision, but fans were not thrilled with the performance.

You have to think that the Bellator welterweight is going to look to make a statement on May 7th. If he’s able to get a win in a few weeks, it might be time that he gets another crack at the welterweight title.

State of the Bellator Welterweight Division

A couple of week’s ago, Bellator welterweight champion, Douglas Lima (32-8), failed in his attempt to become a two-division world champion. Lima fought and was defeated by Gegard Mousasi at Bellator 250.

After the loss, Lima will return to the welterweight division where he holds the crown. There are a number of contenders in the 170 pound division. However, there is not a clear next opponent for Lima at the moment.

In looking at the Bellator welterweight division, there are four fighters who are all coming off victories near the top of the division. The one with the most name recognition would be Michael “Venom” Page (18-1).

MVP has won four fights in a row since being knocked out by Lima. Lima is the only man to get the better of Page inside the cage. However, Page hasn’t fought top competition since the loss which could hurt his chances at getting the next shot.

Another top contender would be Lorenz Larkin (22-7, 1 NC). Larkin has won four in a row including an impressive victory over Andrey Koreshkov back in October of 2019. He has also lost to the current champion back in 2017.

Two other top contenders are grapplers Neiman Gracie (10-1) and Yaroslav Amosov (25-0). Gracie is coming off of an impressive submission win over Jon Fitch while Amosov just edged out Logan Storley last week at Bellator 252.

What’s next for Bellator?

If I’m being completely honest, I’m not sure there is a clear top contender for Bellator at the moment. If I was playing matchmaker, I would lean towards Michael Page to make the biggest fight possible.

However, Lima recently said that Page doesn’t deserve a shot due to the lack of competition. If that was the stance from my champion, I would personally look to book Page against Lorenz Larkin. Larkin has expressed interest in fighting MVP. 

That would be my number one contenders match for the next shot at the Bellator crown. I would also pit Gracie against Amosov. Amosov didn’t really impress in his last fight. Despite the perfect record, I don’t think he’s ready for a shot just yet.

The only man to defeat Neiman Gracie was Rory MacDonald. I think if you pit these two grapplers against each other, you could make the argument that either or would deserve a shot if they win.

Bellator definitely has some options, but I would personally book these two fights before giving anyone to the champion. Let Lima take a little time after his loss, and let a true number one contender emerge from this group.

What really happened with Michael “Venom” Page at Bellator 248

This past weekend, Bellator 248 made history as the first major MMA event in France after it’s legalization earlier this year. One of the headliners for the promotion was the dynamic Michael “Venom” Page (18-1).

Page was set to take on the previously unbeaten Ross Houston (8-1, 1 NC) in the main event of Bellator 248. MVP was coming off of three consecutive knockout finishes, and he was looking for another statement win this past Saturday.

Page has been trying to get a rematch with Bellator‘s welterweight champion Douglas Lima. Lima knocked out Page back at Bellator 221 which is still MVP’s only professional loss. Given the magnitude of the event and Page’s popularity, a lot of eyes were on Bellator 248.

While there was very high expectations, the main event completely failed to deliver. The MMA community was expecting a back and forth war with one man eventually going down. Instead, what they got was a grinding decision for Michael Page. A flop of a main event for the promotion.

After the fight was over, Page made the claim that the Bellator mat was extremely slippery. For that reason, he couldn’t execute his game plan. Meanwhile, Scott Coker came out and said that he believed MVP’s off night was due to the fact that he’s been inactive this year.

What really happened at Bellator 248

I don’t want to come across as a hater, but I find the slippery surface excuse to be a little far fetched. There were no complaints from other fighters when it came to the Bellator fighting surface on Saturday night. Everyone else seemed to perform just fine.

It also certainly didn’t look like Page was having trouble keeping his footing. However, just because he didn’t visibly slip a ton doesn’t mean he didn’t feel stable. He very well might have felt that the mat wasn’t sturdy enough for his flashy techniques.

However, I believe that Bellator President Scott Coker was more on point with his assessment. To me, Page just appeared to be a little off overall. It looked like his timing wasn’t completely there and he just didn’t seem comfortable inside the cage.

I think the fact that Houston was a very dangerous opponent didn’t help things. I think the fact that Page didn’t feel comfortable, he was facing a dangerous opponent, and the fact that it was his first fight of 2020 led to the lackluster Bellator 248 performance.

No matter how you slice it, the main event really failed the promotion in a big way. Bellator had the chance to make a big statement being the first to host an event in France, but the promotion failed to deliver an entertaining main event.

Results and Takeaways from Bellator’s first event in France

Yesterday, Bellator became the first major MMA promotion to host an event in France. MMA was just legalized in France early in 2020, but the pandemic through a wrench in the plans of all promotions who wanted to host events there.

After resuming action a couple of months ago, Bellator made it a priority to host an event in Paris. They were able to work out the logistics and put on some pretty good fights yesterday. The Bellator action came in waves.

The first wave of action came in the form of Bellator 248. That event was headlined by the catchweight matchup between Michael “Venom” Page (18-1) and Ross Houston (8-1, 1 NC). Page was looking to make a statement to try to get a rematch with Bellator champion, Douglas Lima.

The second wave of action featured the homecoming for French heavyweight, Cheick Kongo (30-11-2, 1 NC). Kongo fought in a rematch against Tim Johnson (15-6) who was looking to avenge his knockout loss to Kongo which happened back in 2018.

Bellator 248 Results & Takeaways

The first headliner featured a rather lackluster main event for Bellator. While there seemed to be so much promise in the MVP fight against Ross Houston, there was a lack of action. The first round started out really well for Houston.

Houston came right out and was able to land an early takedown. He was able to control Page for the majority of the first. The second round saw Page land a takedown of his own. He rode out the round landing a few shots from the top, but seemed content with just holding control.

In the final round, both men threw strikes from the outside. Neither fighter landed anything significant, but Page landed the majority of the shots. In the end, the first Bellator main event was given to Page. Following the win, I wouldn’t be shocked if Page got a rematch with Douglas Lima after winning his fourth in a row.

The second Bellator main event featured the heavyweight clash between Kongo and Johnson. Johnson was going to need to use his grappling to win the fight, and that is exactly what he did. In the first, he caught a Kongo kick and took the Frenchman down and controlled him.

The second round was much better for Kongo. He was able to use the clinch to land some good shots, but nothing serious landed. The final round saw a ton of clinch work, but Johnson held control for most of the round. Two of the judges gave the fight to Johnson earning him the split decision.

It was an exciting day for Bellator, but unfortunately the action failed to live up to the hype. Johnson won his third fight in a row this year and might be close to getting a Bellator heavyweight title match. Page is likely going to get a welterweight title fight after winning his fourth in a row.

Bellator 248 Main Event Preview: Michael “Venom” Page – Ross Houston

Bellator returns tomorrow night for a historic event. They will be the first major MMA promotion to host an MMA event in France. In the headliner there’s a solid welterweight contest between Michael “Venom” Page (17-1) and Ross Houston (8-0, 1 NC).

MVP will be entering the Bellator cage on a three fight winning streak. All three of those wins have come by knockout within the first two rounds. Those wins are following the lone loss of his professional career which came back at Bellator 221.

That night, MVP hurt Douglas Lima and charged after him. After getting taken off his feet from a leg kick, Page was knocked out cold on the way up by Lima. It was a devastating finish which derailed the Bellator championship aspirations from MVP.

Since that loss, Page has been on a roll. His last three opponents have not shown him much of a challenge. He’s facing a top prospect in this next contest who will come into his Bellator debut with an undefeated record.

Ross Houston will carry a perfect professional record into his Bellator debut. A native of Scotland, Houston has spent the majority of his career thus far inside the Cage Warriors cage. Now, he will make the jump to one of the biggest promotions in the world.

Bellator 248 Main Event Prediction

Ross Houston has a very solid overall game for those who have not seem him in action. He’s got very good hands, and he has a lot of decent kicks. However, he really shines when the fight is taken to the ground. Houston possesses really good submission skills.

For MVP, you know the drill if you’ve watched him fight. Page has very good standup skills and anytime he’s in the Bellator cage, he’s likely going to have the advantage on the feet. This fight is not an exception.

For Houston to win this fight, he’s going to have to get Page to the ground. He’s going to have to use grappling to get by him. However, I believe that MVP is just too good and slick for Houston at this stage. I think he’s going to catch Houston with something big in the second round.

Prediction: Michael Page by TKO – Round 2

Bellator to host first major MMA event in France

Over the past few years, it’s been a battle for all MMA promotions to get the sport legalized in France. Bellator currently has one of the most popular fighters in the history of French MMA, Cheick Kongo. Kongo was one of the first really popular fighters from France.

Earlier this year, France finally pulled the trigger on legalizing MMA. All of the major promotions were trying to build up a big card for debuts in France before COVID shut things down. The UFC wanted to have a card headlined by superstar Francis Ngannou.

However, yesterday, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was reporting that Bellator would become the first promotion to host a major event in France. They were targeting October, and this morning, Bellator confirmed the news announcing two fights for October 10th.

Bellator’s Card

Bellator Paris will in fact be headlined by heavyweight Cheick Kongo (30-10-2, 1 NC). He will be taking on Timothy Johnson (14-6) in a rematch from Bellator 208. Nobody should be surprised by the fact that Kongo is headlining this historic card in Paris.

Kongo has been a face for French MMA for years. I’m happy that he’s getting this spot. The 45 year old Kongo is a veteran of the game who is coming off of a NC with heavyweight champion Ryan Bader. If Kongo is able to knockout Johnson again, he’s likely going to get a rematch.

Johnson has put together back-to-back first round finishes since his two fight losing streak to start his Bellator career. Johnson knocked out heavyweight prospect Tyrell Fortune, then he became fortunate when an accidental headbutt lead to a TKO over Matt Mitrione. This should be a solid main event.

If you haven’t seen Michael Venom Page (17-1) fight before, you could be in for a treat. MVP is extremely creative inside the cage and he’s a ton of fun to watch. He welcomes undefeated Scottish prospect Ross Houston (8-0, 1 NC) to Bellator in Paris.

MVP has won three straight fights by knockout after his loss to Douglas Lima. That is a fight I want to see ran back in the future. If MVP is able to defeat Houston, you might see that fight setup. Houston is a top prospect, but this is a lot to ask for in his Bellator debut

Way Too Early MLB Award Predictions

With the MLB season less than a month away, there is a lot of buzz over who will be most successful in what is a most unusual season as it’s only going to be 60 games. This means a hot start out of the gate is crucial, and could screw up some numbers this year. Guys like Giancarlo Stanton have slugged over .800 in a 60 game stretch and while I don’t think we will see that, you never know when the game is so different this time around.

This definitely will play some factor in my choosing of awards but not too much, as I believe these guys were candidates for said awards even before this reduced size of games.

With that being said, let’s get to the awards:

AL MVP: Mike Trout

Why don’t people talk enough about Mike Trout being robbed of the MVP in 2012, 2013, and 2015? He had the better fWAR by nearly 3 wins in 2012 than Miggy with better defense AND a better wRC+. In 2013? The fWAR gap is still massive, and while the offense was pretty close, the defense was obviously in Trout’s favor, plus in both years Trout had baserunning value with 40 and then 33 stolen bases. Then in 2015 the same deal, better fWAR, better wRC+, better baserunning, but this time the defense was comparable.

Thank god Trout won it last year, because he was definitely the best player in baseball last year (again), and yes he deserved it WAY more than DJ. There’s no indication besides his potential to opt-out that gives me any reason to believe anyone in the AL is on his level, especially since Betts just got traded to the NL. The only guy who’s going to give Trout a run for his money is Aaron Judge, but I have to hand the 3x MVP and arguably best CF of all time this one. He’s got the wRC+, the fWAR, the wOBA, the OBP, and he’s a solid defender, so this is a no-brainer (Unless the voters screw him over again, like they always do).

NL MVP: Mookie Betts

Look I love Christian Yelich but Betts can do one thing that will make him the MVP; he can field at an elite level. Yes Yelich is the better hitter but they are comparable in offense but Betts is an elite glove, being a top 10 defensive outfielder in the sport. Yelich could win his 2nd in 3 years but I have more faith in the recently acquired superstar who’s going to be the best player in the National League.

AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole

The BEST pitcher in baseball, with the best xFIP and best SIERA (excluding Chris Sale who’s hurt) and who will finally win the Cy Young. He was ROBBED last year by voters who clearly don’t know how to select award winners. Gerrit Cole will have to just come to NY and win the Cy Young in “deGrom’s town” and I can sit back and bask in the glory of having the best pitcher in the sport (until Chris Sale comes back, seriously that dude is special) and enjoy a nice Cy Young from our latest investment in talent.

NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer

Let’s be VERY clear about this, Jacob deGrom is an elite pitcher and a future HOFer and was incredible in 2018 and 2019. That being said, the most important pitching stat is SIERA for showing sustainability of performance that we record in ERA and FIP, and Max Scherzer in 2019 had a better season with a better FIP, xFIP, and SIERA, and people will scream about ERA but if that was the case then Hyun-Jin Ryu should’ve won the NL Cy Young right? ERA is not a stat that shows sustainability rather it shows results, results that can vary and change depending on the peripheral stats I just mentioned.

Max Scherzer had a stronger 2019 and Jacob deGrom regressed enough from 2018 for me not to feel like I’m doing deGrom a disservice, as he can still win the award, but I just find Scherzer to be the better pitcher RIGHT NOW.

AL Rookie of the Year: Jesus Luzardo

This hard throwing lefty will get a lot of time out the gate to pitch for the A’s and I think he will flourish, as he is one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. In his MiLB career, he has a 2.53 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 234 strikeouts in only 195.2 innings. He had a short 12 inning stint in the MLB last year and had a 1.50 ERA with a 3.37 xFIP and 2.77 SIERA and 16 strikeouts. I think he will log around 50 innings which will be enough for him to be in that ALROY race and, in my opinion, win it.

NL Rookie of the Year: Gavin Lux

I wanted to put Dylan Carlson out of St. Louis however I believe Lux is the more talented player. He had performed okay for the Dodgers in 2019 in his short stint but he underperfomed his .343 xwOBA, .288 xBA, and his .455 xSLG. The reason I not his xBA is because his BB% is around average and so with his batting average being around .288 it would give him an OBP around .350. I think he will have an even higher BB% as in the MiLB it’s always been pretty high. Lux also is a good defender at 2B with a 2 OAA in a small amount of attempts, so he will probably be the most complete rookie in the NL.

AL Reliever of the Year: Nick Anderson

I think Nick Anderson is a VERY underrated reliever, as in his first full season he had a 2.21 SIERA and a 2.44 xFIP while whiffing 110 batters in 65 innings. It was even better once he got to Tampa, as after being dealt there he pitched 21.1 innings, struck out 41 batters, had a 1.19 xFIP and 1.03 SIERA which is just INCREDIBLE. He also owned a 0.60 WHIP and will make a case for the best reliever in the sport after this season.

NL Reliever of the Year: Josh Hader

Josh Hader is a high usage reliever with great peripherals and results. He’s been the anchor of the Brewers bullpen and will be the best reliever in the NL again. Hader is a special arm talent and is probably the best strikeout reliever in the sport right now, and has a 1.73 SIERA since 2018, the best out of all relievers in the sport. He’s elite and will remain king of the NL bullpens.

AL Platnium Glove: Matt Chapman

I would give this to Andrelton Simmons but his health concerns have made him lose both the 2018 and 2019 Platnium Glove to the A’s star 3rd baseman Matt Chapman. With Chapman’s DRS being impeccable at 64 since 2019 and his 14 OAA shows his defensive dominance. He’s the best defensive 3rd baseman in the sport, and he’s going to win his 3rd straight Platnium Glove to show us why.

NL Platnium Glove: Nick Ahmed

I think that Nick is the best defensive infielder in the NL (even better than Nolan Arenado), as he plays the hardest defensive position besides catcher in the infield which does affect how good I think he is AND his DRS, OAA, and his Success Rate metrics in the last two years make him a prime candidate for this award. I think Harrison Bader is another player with a great shot at this award but for now, I’ll go with Nick Ahmed.

AL Silver Sluggers

C: Mitch Garver
1B: Matt Olson
2B: DJ LeMahieu
3B: Anthony Rendon
SS: Carlos Correa
OF: Aaron Judge
OF: Mike Trout
OF: George Springer
DH: Yordan Alvarez

NL Silver Sluggers

C: JT Realmuto
1B: Max Muncy
2B: Ketel Marte
3B: Justin Turner
SS: Trevor Story
OF: Juan Soto
OF: Mookie Betts
OF: Christian Yelich
DH: JD Davis (if he is the DH)

AL Gold Glove Picks

C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Matt Olson
2B: DJ LeMahieu
3B: Matt Chapman
SS: Andrelton Simmons
OF: Aaron Judge
OF: Kevin Kiermaier
OF: Byron Buxton
P: Zack Grienke

NL Gold Glove Picks

C: JT Realmuto
1B: Christian Walker
2B: Kolten Wong
3B: Nolan Arenado
SS: Nick Ahmed
OF: Mookie Betts
OF: Harrison Bader
OF: Cody Bellinger

Those are my picks for the 2020 MLB awards, let me know what you would change or if anyone was snubbed out of an award, this season’s going to be crazy, so I expect to get a lot wrong.