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Bellator 216: MVP vs Daley - Feb 16


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Righty then. This Saturday, Bellator is bringing the big grudge match. A fight we’ve all been waiting for but one I didn’t really think we’d end up seeing. It’s the Battle Of Britain...which for some reason is happening in Uncasville, Connecticut. It’s London vs Nottingham. It’s Michael Page vs Paul Daley. It’s Venom vs Semtex. And it’s on Sky Sports. 


Michael Venom Page vs Paul Daley - Welterweight Grand Prix Tournament Opening Round

Cheick Kongo vs Vitaly Minakov 

Mirko Cro Cop vs Roy Nelson 

Erick Silva vs Yaroslav Amosov 

Valerie Loureda vs Colby Fletcher


Tyrell Fortune vs Ryan Pokryfky

Reginaldo Felix vs Justin Sumter

Pat Casey vs Nekruz Mirkhojaev

Rodolpho Barcellos vs Vinicius De Jesus 

Kastriot Xhema vs Kemran Lachinov

Jesse Kosakowski vs Rodolfo Neves Rocha 

Demetrios Plaza vs Andrews Rodriguez 


That’s MMAJunkie’s bout order. Although I expect Tyrell Fortune probably won’t be the very first prelim on the night. I didn’t really pay much attention to this card as a whole. I just had a mental note of ‘Feb 16...that’s MVP vs Daley’ and that was it. Not a bad little main card at all though there.



Michael ‘Venom’ Page vs Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley is the one though. I’d usually try to highlight something from the undercard but this is definitely ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. One of the most anticipated fights over the last year or two. It’s everything - the beef between the two, the never ending back and forth, all the times the fight looked like it was happening then didn’t, the brawl at the London show, the lot. But the best thing about this matchup is that when you strip all the hype and bullshit away, it’s also a fucking incredible fight styles-wise. 

Paul Daley is a veteran these days. He’s not an old man at 35 years old but he’s had 58 MMA fights and 24 Kickboxing fights. In MMA he’s got a 40-16-2 record and 30 of his 40 wins came by KO or TKO. He’s widely regarded as pound-for-pound one of the sport’s most devastating punchers and rightly so. His highlight reel of knockouts speaks for itself. He might have the best reel of KOs in MMA actually. Clean knockouts. And brutal. Where there’s no disputing the stoppage. Daley puts you out cold. The left hook of doom is his main weapon but he’s also wiped opponents out with flying knees, uppercuts, body shots, elbows, the lot. 


The cunt’s nicknamed after an explosive that was used in demolitions and by the military, for fuck’s sake. 

One of the heaviest handed fighters in MMA history for me. 


Scott Smith was just one of many who found out the hard way. 

Daley’s been around as well. He’s fought everywhere from the UFC to Strikeforce to Cage Rage to EliteXC to BAMMA to Shark Fights and a bunch more. Now he calls Bellator home. His career includes wins over Lorenz Larkin, Jorge Masvidal, Martin Kampmann, Mark Weir and Duane Ludwig.


In 2011 he had what I still consider THE best one rounder in MMA history against Nick Diaz. If you somehow haven’t seen it, you need to fix that. 


Daley’s problem is well documented though. He’s just not as well rounded as it takes to really excel at the elite level. He’ll go so far but the same things keep happening and when he comes up against a strong grappler, he comes unstuck. It’s happened time and time again. Jake Shields, Josh Koscheck, Tyron Woodley and Rory MacDonald all exploited his grappling weakness. It’s one of the main things that has held Daley back in his career.

I say ‘one of’ because the other thing is his attitude. There was that incident way back where Daley supposedly got Cage Rage kicked off Sky Sports (hopefully not a sign of things to come, eh?) because he was swearing his head off in his post-fight interview saying ‘cunt’ and ‘pussy’. There was the now infamous case of him twatting Koscheck after the bell and getting himself blackballed (racist?) by the UFC for refusing to acknowledge Dana White while he was bollocking him. There was a time a few years ago when Bellator ended up releasing him because of legal trouble stemming from a bar fight he was supposed to be involved in, which in turn caused Visa problems. Basically, I guess they just decided he wasn’t worth the hassle. They re-signed him a year or so later though. 

It’s been a rollercoaster and he certainly hasn’t done himself any favours over the years. Even with the UFC/Koscheck thing, there were times when he expressed regret over how he handled that and seemed genuinely sorry it happened. Then you’d see another interview and he’d be like ‘ah, whatever, fuck it’. All that said though, there’s been some great fights with him since the UFC binned him. The Diaz fight alone was worth it all, IMO. 

MVP is 31 years old. Currently undefeated in MMA at 13-0 with 11 finishes. He’s also got a 2-0 Pro Boxing record and a 1-0 Kickboxing record. He’s way less experienced than Daley, obviously, but he’s shown flashes of potential greatness in a bunch of his fights so far and has a style and swagger with the mid-fight showboating and unorthodox attacks that reminds me a bit of Prince Naseem Hamed. Every time I watch MVP I come away thinking Naz was surely a big influence on him. 

The thing with MVP is though, we just don’t know how good he is. He’s got undeniable skills but he hasn’t faced top opposition yet so until we see him in with guys who pose a serious threat, all bets are off really. And Daley poses a serious threat so this is going to be very interesting. 

I guess MVP’s most well known win to date was his flying knee KO against Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos. To see a hardened Chute Boxe scrapper like Cyborg go down in agony with his legs kicking was quite a shock at the time. 


And we found out after that he fractured Cyborg’s skull with that knee. Grim. 

That was 2016 though and MVP has only fought twice in MMA in the 2 years since. He beat Fernando Gonzalez by split decision in an awful fight. Then stopped David Rickels on the London show last year. 


Mixed in between those fights he took time out to box, under David Haye’s promotional banner;


He stopped both his opponents in October 2017 and June 2018. 

I don’t even know exactly where the bad blood between Page and Daley originates from. They just always seemed to be destined to clash and always seemed to needle each other in interviews and stuff and it’s just escalated. Especially with them being scheduled to fight a few times in the past and it not happening. 

Here’s some highlights of the press conference;

A lot has been made of Daley supposedly ducking MVP, with MVP posting stuff like this on social media;


But it doesn’t make much sense to me. On two of the occasions where Daley was offered MVP he opted to face Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald. Hardly taking the easy route, is it? You can criticise Daley for a lot of things but dodging tough fights has never been his thing. And if you look deeper into MVP’s career, he’s pulled out of fights so fucking many times already in his career it’s mad. A quick look at his Wikipedia page and you’ll see. I counted about 7 or 8 instances of him pulling out injured. And that’s just since signing with Bellator in 2013. It took them 3 attempts to even get him in the cage for his debut! In his last 5 fights Daley has fought Douglas Lima, Brennan Ward, Rory MacDonald, Lorenz Larkin and Jon Fitch. Two of which - MacDonald and Fitch - were an absolute nightmare for him style-wise. So there’s clearly more to the MVP fight not getting made than him ducking. You don’t avoid a fight to take a harder fight. 

Whatever the case, we got there in the end. The Welterweight Grand Prix was announced and when the brackets were released MVP vs Semtex was made official in the opening round. 



Interesting fight, interesting times. Lima has already advanced, he awaits the winner of this fight. So the days of MVP being untested are over. Daley is going to be by far the toughest test of his career to date. And if he passes that, he’s got Lima. I get the feeling this is going one of two extreme ways for MVP. Either he gets found out and his shit won’t work on the top boys, or he’ll rise to the occasion and run the field like Shogun in 2005. 

Watch this promo...

Can’t wait for this now. So glad we’re getting it live as well. 



Cheick Kongo vs Vitaly Minakov 2 could be a good heavyweight rematch. Minakov is probably the best heavyweight not under UFC contract right now, IMO. He’s 34 years old, unbeaten at 21-0 with 19 finishes, a multi-time Sambo gold medalist. He hasn’t faced that many good fighters, simply because there aren’t many decent heavyweights out there. But he’s mostly smashed what’s available, including a first round finish over Alexander Volkov. This could be shite if Kongo has his way though. Has there ever been a fighter who looked the part yet didn’t deliver as much as Kongo? He’s always looked like a killer, like a black Sagat off Street Fighter. Badass. Cool name. The French accent. The mean mug. If Vince McMahon was booking the UFC when Kongo was there he’d have been the world champion for years. But, Pat Barry fight aside, the bell rings and the show’s usually over. I mean, fair play. He’s 43 years old, has had a 60-odd fight career in combat sports and is on a 7 fight win streak. He actually hasn’t looked terrible in his last few. But I don’t think I’ll ever forgive him for the absolute rotters he’s had over the years against Matt Mitrione, Travis Browne, Shawn Jordan, Carmelo Marrero and Augusto Sakai. 

I can’t even remember if I saw the first fight. It was 2014 and Minakov won by decision. No recollection myself. @Egg Shen



Mirko Cro Cop vs Roy Nelson 2 then. Another heavyweight rematch. This one I do remember. They first met at UFC 137 back in 2011, on the undercard of Nick Diaz vs BJ Penn. Big Roy won by third round TKO. Seems like a lifetime ago now. Cro Cop was in perhaps the worst slump of his career at the time and coming off back-to-back knockout defeats to the proper wanker tandem of Brendan Schaub and Frank Mir. That was a real low point for me as a Cro Cop fan. He’s gone on to have a bit of an Indian summer, winning tournaments in both Rizin and GLORY and he’s won his last 9 fights, all finishes. He even managed to avenge that crushing loss to Gonzaga in the UFC! Nelson’s career has gone the other way. He’s gone a shocking 2-8 in his last 10 and was stopped by Sergei Kharitonov in his most recent outing. Despite all that, I’ve still got a bad feeling Cro Cop’s losing this one. I hope not. But you just know this is going to be a shootout on the feet and in a fight like that I favour the guy with the bigger punch and the tougher chin. And that’s Nelson. I’d love to see Mirko bust out the old headkick KO though. 



Erick Silva vs Yaroslav Amosov is a fight I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t know what Silva has left and I’ve never even seen Amosov. Erick Silva’s a guy who seemed shot by about 31/32. Whether it was those brutal fights in the UFC against Matt Brown and Stun Gun or whether it was injuries or USADA changed him or what. I don’t know. But he’s definitely lost something from his crazy wildman early UFC days. Like I said, I’d never heard of Amosov but looking him up now he’s 25 years old, unbeaten at 20-0 with 17 finishes and decisioned Gerald Harris in his last fight. Not bad at all. Unless he really digs deep and recaptures some of that fire he once had, I don’t like the sound of this for Silva. 



Valerie Loureda vs Colby Fletcher is all about Valerie Loureda. This is her pro MMA debut (2-1 as an amateur), she’s 20 years old and a Taekwondo 4th degree black-belt who was on the USA Olympic team. With the way women’s MMA is, she’ll be a big star if she’s any good because she’s hot as fuck. But Bellator have already tried to pull some tricks to give her an easy debut. Apparently her original opponent here was a girl called Anastasia Bruce. She is 0-0 as a pro but 0-12 as an amateur. 0 and sodding 12! The commission weren’t having that and said they’d need to find Loureda a new opponent. In steps Colby Fletcher. She’s 1-2, most notably losing to UFC’s Montana De La Rosa. She hasn’t fought since 2015. Still, better than 0-12. 


And that’s Bellator 216. 


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No word of a lie - when I was 14, some classmates and I in drama class did a comedy skit about a bunch of clueless bank robbers, one of whom had brought Tampax instead of Semtex. That was in 1993.

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8 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

There was that incident way back where Daley supposedly got Cage Rage kicked off Sky Sports (hopefully not a sign of things to come, eh?) because he was swearing his head off in his post-fight interview saying ‘cunt’ and ‘pussy’.

That was likely the straw that broke the camel's back. O'Donnell MMA wasn't drawing viewers. 


In May 2008, Sky Sports said in a statement they would no longer be airing Cage Rage events on their channels. The official line was that they could not continue with Cage Rage as fighter Paul Daley had sworn on live TV on a previous show. However, this was thought to be an excuse as the incident (where Daley used several sexual cursewords) took place well after the 9pm "watershed". Much more likely Sky was disappointed with the average 19,000 viewers Cage Rage was getting.

I am quite looking forward to this at the weekend. Looks like a nice card. 

I hope Sergei beats Meathead on Friday as well. 

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Daley finds issues when he faces wrestlers, or even fighters with a terrific ground game. MVP has none of that, but he's more dynamic in his striking. I can see him looking good early, maybe even hurting Daley before he goes in for the big finish and Daley cracks him with a wild right that sparks him out.

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Pretty much exactly what Dave said, except I reckon it’ll be that left hook that does it. That’s Daley’s money punch. 

Just always had a feeling that MVP loses the second he fights someone legit. And for all Daley’s flaws, he’s a big step up from the guys MVP’s been in with so far. Even if he gets by Daley I can’t see him coping well with Lima and certainly not Rory. 

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Couple of good interviews here. 



And one with Cro Cop talking about his fight with Roy Nelson, Bellator future, his career resurgence, the recent Heavyweight GP and his pet squirrel;

Fucking love Cro Cop. Stone cold killer yet look at the happiness on his face when he talks about the baby squirrel his wife brought home one day. 

If he does end up fighting on the next London show I’ve got to go. Even though it seems like he’s never going to retire, there surely won’t be many more chances to see him fight live over here. Imagine Fedor vs Cro Cop 2 over here? Fuck! 

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