|This report contains details of what happened at Bellator 281. You can watch the entire event again on BBC iPlayer (UK users only) here.|
American Logan Storley claimed the interim welterweight belt at Bellator 281 beating Britain’s Michael ‘Venom’ Page in London.
Page, the home favourite, was dominated by Storley over five rounds as the new champion executed a measured wrestling gameplan.
Storley was a worthy winner via split decision despite one judge giving it to Page, 48-47.
“The fans are mad at me, I appreciate it,” Storley said.
“Boo me all you want, that guy is talented. Don’t boo me for winning.
“I’ve trained with a lot of people but I have never felt that speed and distance. It is so awkward. He is playing basketball in the middle of the ring and hitting you at the same time. That guy is unbelievable and I had to do what I had to do.
“Boo me all you want, I am a world champion.”
A historic night for British MMA and MVP was in the end not meant to be as Storley upset the odds in London.
The crowd hated the action, but Storley’s decision to stick to his gameplan was in the end the right decision. MVP will feel Storley did no damage with his wrestling, but the 35-year-old’s inability to get back to his feet was no doubt a big factor in the second defeat of his career.
Storley, on the other hand, returns home with an interim title and can now look forward to an undisputed clash with absent champion Yaroslav Amosov, who is currently fighting in Ukraine.
MVP falls flat in London
Page made an eye-catching entrance flanked by his brother and brother-in-law. He was as relaxed as ever and after huge knockouts for Fabian Edwards and Paul Daley, the crowd was expecting a vintage performance from the exciting striker.
Storley had renowned brawler and former UFC champion Robbie Lawler in his corner, but there was no desire from him to engage with MVP on the feet.
Storley, 29, immediately took the fight to the ground and Page was forced into a defensive position for much of the first round, a position he would occupy for most of the fight.
After being unable to make the most of his position, Storley allowed the start of the second round to stay on the feet. MVP tried to switch on his showman mode, taunting Storley for a missed takedown – much to the delight of the crowd.
But, every time MVP moved into close range, Storley would shoot for his legs and too often, for Page, he was successful. MVP spent the rest of the round pinned against the cage. Another referee might have stood the pair up, but Jacob Montalvo was happy to let Storley do his work and wear Page down.
It was another round for Storley and the third followed a similar pattern as he began on the feet but quickly moved to the ground. Although Storley’s wrestling was not aggressive enough to cause MVP any issues, the Briton had little answer to the American’s dominance.
Finally, there was some joy for Page in the fourth as Storley appeared to slow down slightly. Page was on his toes as he ducked in and out of range at speed. A flying knee narrowly missed but the follow-up right landed flush on Storley, rocking him momentarily.
Page was now landing a few combinations, smirking at Storley as he tried to respond. Storley might have felt the round slipping away as he shot for Page’s legs yet again, seeing out the round weighing down on his opponent.
The final round saw Page in search of a Hail Mary moment. He attempted an ambitious flying knee but the move exposed him to the takedown. Page tried to get back to his feet, but as he attempted to stand up midway through the round, Storley dumped him back down to the canvas.
The fight ended with Page on the ground and there was no complaints from MVP as his rival was announced as the winner on the scorecards.