The Bellator cage is ready to be set up this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut for Bellator 216. Headlining the card is the third fight in the Sportsbook round of the welterweight grand prix between Michael “Venom” Page and Paul “Semtex” Daley. In a true battle between a veteran and an up-and-comer, Page lays his 13-0 record on the line and is a -225 favorite to remain perfect, while Daley is competing in his 59th professional fight and comes back at +175.
I’m a little surprised to see the line where it’s at. Daley has been in the cage with some ferocious competitors and has gained a lot of experience in his victories and defeats. Meanwhile, Page has been absolutely humiliating his opponents with devastating highlight-reel knockouts and entertaining fans with his post-fight antics.
However, MVP hasn’t nearly had the level of competition Semtex has had and we are finally going to see what he’s made of. Personally, I think the line should be much tighter for that reason, and especially when you have two knockout artists competing, it could go either way.
Michael Page vs Paul Daley
Page (-225) has been seemingly unstoppable through the first 13 fights of his professional career, but it has been a slow build over those 13 bouts. He made his pro debut in February 2012 and had his last fight in May 2018. The 31-year-old has finished 11 of his 13 wins, eight of them by knockout and the others by submission.
MVP is a flashy fighter, constantly showboating and throwing high-energy spinning attacks looking for the highlight-reel knockout. However, he does a fantastic job at recognizing distance and using his large frame to keep his opponent at bay. Additionally, he has shades of Anderson Silva in him as he can make his foes look pretty foolish by avoiding their strikes effortlessly.
Daley (+175) is looking to put an end to his win-one, lose-one streak over his last six fights and is aiming to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since 2011. The 35-year-old was once rising up the ranks of the UFC en route to a No. 1 contender fight with Josh Koscheck at UFC 113 in 2010. Daley was frustrated with his three-round decision loss to Koscheck and threw a punch at him after the final horn sounded. He was cut from the UFC immediately after.
Semtex has thunder in his hands as 30 of his 40 professional wins have come via knockout, with each of his last four wins coming in that manner. He uses his jab well with his left hand as he seeks a home for his powerful right. The England native also has good leg kicks to slow his opponents down and occasionally he will get a little flashy with flying knees, demonstrated in his knockout win over Brennan Ward at Bellator 183.
Daley got what he wanted in this fight – an opponent who will get in a standup war with him. Semtex has been critical of the Bellator organization for giving him wrestlers, but it is MMA; he just isn’t strong in that area of the game. However, when he gets a chance to go strike for strike with someone, it usually results in his hand being raised and his opponent staring up at the lights.
All that being said, MVP is a very dangerous fighter who has never lost and has eight knockouts to his record as well, while Daley has been knocked out twice in his career. I expect fireworks when these two enter the cage on Saturday.
Prediction: Michael Page (-225) via knockout
Odds as of February 13 at Sportsbook