Michael Page redeemed himself for the only loss of his career by securing his biggest win to date on Friday in his hometown, beating three-time Bellator MMA welterweight champion Douglas Lima by split decision in the Bellator 267 main fight at the Wembley Arena in London.
In a highly competitive fight, two judges saw it 29-28 in favor of Page, while the third saw it 29-28 for Lima. Friday’s fight came just over two years after Lima handed Page (20-1) the only loss of his career.
Lima (32-10), who was dethroned as champion in June, was hoping to use this fight as a springboard back to a title shot. Instead, Page appears to have positioned himself to challenge undefeated champion Yaroslav Amosov (26-0).
“Now I want that metal,” Page said of a possible title fight against Amosov. “I’ve traveled a lot, I got my redemption. Now I want that metal. The incomparable ‘MVP’ is back!”
It was a close fight from start to finish. Page knocked Lima down twice in the first round and once more in the third, but each time it seemed that Lima was more off-balance than hurt. Lima made most of his success in those two rounds as well, landing takedowns each and elbowing Page’s head in the few times when he was able to free his arms from Page’s defense.
“I knew he would attempt a takedown,” said Page, 34, who was born in London and still lives and trains there. “Every fighter who stands in front of me, I make him a fighter, every one of them.”
Page did give Lima his thing, acknowledging that the 33-year-old Brazilian, who has lived and trained in the Atlanta area since he was a teenager, made it difficult for the Londoner to put on a show in front of his home fans. Page danced to the backing vocals of “MVP! MVP!” and he continued to goad the crowd as the fighters’ introductions were made, but once the fight started, he fought more cautiously than usual.
“Lima is a tough guy,” he said. “I understand why he has been champion three times.”
The first time they fought, in May 2019, Page hit Lima with a fist, but he became reckless in trying to finish it and was caught with a low kick that unbalanced him, and then a right hand that ended his night.
There was a similar sequence in the second round on Friday, when Lima knocked Page down with a kick, then missed with a hook as Page got to his feet. The audience gave a groan.
“Hey, you fool me once,” Page said with a smile. “I got up with my eyes [mirando] upwards. I saw that fist when it came, and well, I’m good at slipping. They are not going to hit me with that same blow again. “