In the main event of Bellator 216, Michael Page scored a narrow victory over fellow Brit Paul Daley to remain undefeated.
MICHAEL PAGE VS PAUL DALEY
It was the long-awaited culmination of what had become a bitter rivalry, being the dubbed the biggest all British fight in MMA history (but taking place in Uncasville, Connecticut for some reason). The bout was an opening round matchup in the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix.
The first round was a tentative affair. Page took the centre with his trademark long sideways stance, hands by his sides. Page switched stances and stalked his fellow countryman but Daley remained patient. While avoiding damage, Daley didn’t throw a single strike the whole round.
The second round started in a similar fashion. Around a minute in Page landed a jumping switch kick to the face that got Daley’s attention. Daley shot for a takedown from seemingly miles out but was able to wrap up Page’s legs and drag him to the mat.
Page came out far more aggressive in the third, with a leg kick followed by a hook kick that narrowly missed. Daley looked for an outside trip then switched inside and put Page on his back again. With Page sitting up to get back to his feet, Daley landed a big right hook, followed by two lefts.
With two minutes left in the final round, Page hit an arm drag to get Daley’s back and immediately dragged him to the floor. He started looking for a rear naked choke and softened Daley up with elbows. Daley struggled to his feet with under a minute left.
That final round was enough to secure the decision with scores of 48-47 across the board. With the victory Page now faces former two-time champion Douglas Lima in the semifinals of the Bellator Welterweight Grand Prix on 11th May.
MIRKO CRO COP VS ROY NELSON
In the co-main event of Bellator 216, heavyweight legend Mirko Cro Cop avenged a 2011 defeat with a close unanimous decision victory over fellow veteran Roy Nelson.
Nelson’s game plan was clear from the start; back Cro Cop up behind the jab to avoid the kicks and work on the inside looking for takedowns. That plan was partly successful but like others before him, Nelson may have underestimated the grappling and takedown defence of Cro Cop.
Midway through the round, Cro Cop landed the most significant strike of the round with a huge left uppercut from the clinch. As the round closed, Cro Cop landed his famous left leg on Nelson’s liver, forcing ‘Big Country’ into another unsuccessful takedown attempt
Cro Cop started the second round strong, landing two more big uppercuts from the clinch. Nelson chased after takedowns, but the Croatian’s defence remained on point. With five seconds left, Cro Cop threw a trademark left high kick which was blocked by Nelson. Who almost mockingly returned with one of his own (that barely reached Cro Cops chest)
In the third round, Nelson kept searching for the takedown but started finding success with some uppercuts of his own. With a minute left in the fight, Nelson finally secured the elusive takedown. Latching on to a single leg and scooping it up to the ceiling to put Cro Cop on his back.
The effort was too late though as time expired without any meaningful offence from Nelson.
The bell sounded and both men awaited the decision. Nelson thought he had won, and evidently so did referee Leon Roberts who started to raise the American’s hand (whoops). Yet it was Cro Cop who was announced the winner with scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28
CHEICK KONGO VS VITALY MINAKOV
In another heavyweight rematch, Cheick Kongo took a contentious unanimous decision over previously undefeated former champion Vitaly Minakov.
The first two rounds were even, with neither man offering much offense. Minakov wobbled Kongo with an overhand right early on. After that, it was a consistent formula of Minakov walking Kongo down with wild right hands and the Frenchman looking to clinch against the fence.
No Cheick Kongo fight would be complete without a foul or two, and we weren’t disappointed. As the action was paused midway through the first round due to an illegal knee to the groin.
Heading into round three the Uncasville crowd was growing increasingly restless due to the lack of action. Minakov caught a kick from Kongo and took him down landing in half guard. The tide seemed to be turning in the Russian’s direction as he smothered Kongo, staying just busy enough to avoid getting stood up by the referee.
With 30 seconds left Kongo got back to his back to his feet. From the clinch, he landed two knees to the body, and on the break threw an uppercut that landed flush on Minakov’s jaw. With the seconds ticking away, Kongo smelled blood and went for the finish, landing another three knees from the clinch and chasing Minakov down.
Minakov wobbled backwards and looked at the clock, thinking he’d done enough to get the win. However, Kongo’s late flourish seemed to be the difference as he was announced the winner, to the surprise of many by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
- Michael Page Paul Daley Unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Mirko Cro Cop Roy Nelson Unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Cheick Kongo def. Vitaly Minakov Unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Yaroslav Amosov def. Erick Silva Unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Valerie Loureda def. Colby Fletcher TKO (punches) 1 2:55
- Demetrios Plaza def. Andrews Rodriguez Unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
- Justin Sumter def. Reginaldo Felix Submission (rear-naked choke) 2 3:27
- Kemran Lachinov def. Kastriot Xhema Submission (kneebar) 2 0:53
- Tyrell Fortune def. Ryan Pokryfky TKO (knee and punches) 1 2:21
- Vinicius De Jesus Rodolpho Barcellos TKO (punches) 1 3:46
- Jesse Kosakowski def. Rodolfo Rocha Submission (rear-naked choke) 2 3:05
- Nekruz Mirkhojaev def. Pat Casey Submission (neck crank) 3 1:18
Featured image courtesy of our very own Dan Barnes. All rights reserved.