On Friday, England’s human highlight reel, Michael Page, returns to the cage in what will only be his second time competing in front of his home crowd under the Bellator banner.
We’re sure that, when David Rickels (19-4 MMA, 13-4 BMMA) is standing in the opposite corner, it will be all business for the unbeaten “Venom” Page (12-0 MMA, 8-0 BMMA). But, in the meantime, the welterweight has no problem acknowledging – and even appreciating – some aspects of his opponent’s game.
Specifically, the ways in which the “The Caveman,” much like “Venom,” himself, makes sure to bring the show to his fights.
“I love it, man,” Page told MMAjunkie Radio. “I think it’s a tough game. It’s an extremely tough game, one of the hardest sports in the world to do, and I think you need that kind of just humor to it – being able to relax and be comfortable and almost be silly out there, at times. just to kind of relax you. I think it is what I’ve got, that entertainment, and he’s one of those type of fighters.
“I enjoy his entrances as much as everybody else. It’s good. It’s nice to see. It makes it different.”
Page and Rickels are set to meet on the main card of this Friday’s Bellator 200, which takes place at the SSE Arena in London. The welterweight bout airs in the U.S. via same-day tape delay on Paramount.
Of course, it’s not just outside the cage that Rickels can keep things interesting. Although he does have technical merits – as shown by an extensive, active record that, in the past few years, shows losses only to ex-champ Michael Chandler and contender Patricky Pitbull – Rickels is not one to shy away from a good scrap either.
Speaking to MMAjunkie about the contest, Rickels made it clear that he’s never been one to shoot for takedowns, and he’s certainly not about to start with Page. Instead, he says he’ll rely on his relentless pressure and volume to take “MVP” into deep waters.
“I want to show his heart,” Rickels said. “I want to see what Michael Page is made of. I want to bring the fight to him. I want him to feel punches. I want to make him fight. I want to see how much he’s going to be able to give back. How much heart does Michael Page have?”
Page, of course, is known for his crisp, creative striking. And while he acknowledges that sometimes a little recklessness is exactly the type of thing that can bring trouble to more technical fighters, he insists he can also handle himself just fine should things get crazy in there.
“Sometimes (at the gym) you can work with guys that are a bit more beginners and they can land the shots, and only because they’re throwing so recklessly that you’re not used to blocking from those kinds of angles,” Page said. “So, sometimes, having a style that’s quite wild can actually be beneficial. It’s actually almost technical in its own way, and it’s harder to read.
“But this is where I’m good at. I’m good at figuring things out. Even if I didn’t have footage of him to see, I’m good at figuring things out during the fight – working on the timing and distance and keeping myself safe and then figuring out.”
Page hasn’t stepped inside Bellator’s cage since November 2016, when he took a split call over Fernando Gonzalez to add an eighth win under the promotion’s banner to his spotless Bellator record. But he hasn’t been inactive in competition, either: Last October, he tested himself in his first pro boxing bout. Page won via third-round TKO.
Page isn’t sure it works the other way around, but, considering MMA fights usually start with a punch, there’s no doubt that boxing can add a lot to a fighter’s skillset. On his end, Page has certainly felt the positive effects that his boxing foray has helped in the cage, be it when it comes to his footwork, power, combinations or just general upper body strength.
“Just the added work that I’ve done on my shoulders and my arms – it’s actually helping me in my wrestling,” Page said.
Those who follow MMA more closely have probably caught wind of Page’s visit to SBG Ireland, a camp known mostly for being home to former UFC champion Conor McGregor. The prospect clarifies, though, that he was only there for a one-day session.
“We’ve been doing a lot of this in different gyms,” Page said. “Just organize spars with different people, just to try and test to see where I’m at.”
Considering Page actually had to hop on a plane for that in-and-out experience, once could wonder why he simply din’t stay longer. But the ever-evolving 31-year-old fighter assures that he’s able to absorb quite a lot from these single-day sessions.
“I’m that kind of person,” Page said. “I’m analyzing just every second – every second I’m in there. I took back a lot and just straight back into the gym, just get to working on what I need to work on.”
To hear from Page, check out the video above.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Business aside, Michael Page can appreciate a fellow showman in Bellator 200 foe David Rickels