Michael Venom Page must be ‘like a sniper’ to defeat Douglas Lima at Bellator 221 here this weekend in Chicago and progress to the welterweight tournament final against the winner of Rory MacDonald and Neiman Gracie. The Briton is a huge underdog against Lima, the former 170lbs champion.
That is the view of legendary veteran kick-boxer Raymond Daniels, who has a similar fighting style to the London fighter who, if he emerges a winner on Saturday night, will go down as the claimant to one of the greatest victories by a British fighter in MMA, if not in combat sports.
Page, a brilliant stand-up fighter from freestyle kick-boxing, faces an opponent in Lima who is as adept on the ground as he is in the stand-up. Page is renowned for his outrageous knockouts, and is thus far undefeated in mixed martial arts, after 14 victories in seven years.
“For me, I’m a huge fan of Mike. When I started I was ‘the man’ in then karate world and Mike was the young guy coming up,” Daniels explained to The Telegraph.
“Mike and I go way back and we’re really tight. He kind of got his style from my style and he made it into his own thing. Not only did he do that, I was his senior in the sport karate world.”
“He made the move to MMA even before I did. I was doing full contact fighting at the time and then he made the move to MMA. He was able to adapt the sport karate style beautifully into the MMA world.”
“Sport karate is not something a lot of people have seen, but it produces some of the best athletes. The stuff you see me and Mike do, we do that every weekend at karate tournaments. The eyes are not on us, but they’re on us now. It’s amazing to see him doing his thing. I wish him all the success. I hope he wins this fight coming up.”
If Page wins here in Chicago, it could set up a showdown in the final with incumbent champion, Rory MacDonald, of Canada. MacDonald would have to defeat Neiman Gracie in New York on June 14.
“If he fights a good friend of mine in Rory, then I really don’t know what to say,” added Daniels. “I might just be quiet. I wish him all the success. He deserves it and he’s earned it. He’s got a big test with Douglas Lima. Lima is an amazing fighter and athlete so I expect fireworks from them.”
So how does MVP defeat Lima, in Daniels’s view ? Or, in other words, what would he do ? “One, I would make sure my cardio is on point because Lima loves to push the pace. I would make sure I’m working my leg checks because he loves to attack the lower body. But also making sure I’m controlling the distance.”
“Mike does so well controlling the distance, maybe even better than I do. I remember fighting in him in freestyle sparring a while back and it’s so hard to hit him because he controls the space.”
Daniels also re-enforced the power that has seen Page stop eight of his fourteen victims. “What people also don’t realise about him is he’s very heavy handed.”
“If I were fighting Lima, I’d use his distance, his reach and his heavy handiness to tap at him over and over again. I think his skill and ability could see him do that. Lima will come relentlessly so I’m hoping his (Page’s) cardio will be on point, so he’ll be able to keep that distance and pick him apart from the outside like a sniper.”
And his pick ? “Yes, I like Michael to emerge victorious. I think it’ll be a really, really tough fight for him. It won’t be any type of walk on the park. I really love Lima, I love his style of fighting but I’ve got to support my man Mike. We go way back and I think as long as he maintains his space he’ll be able to emerge victorious. I think it’ll be a clash of styles and something people will love to see.”