Bellator 216: “MVP vs. Semtex” aired last night (Sat., Feb. 16, 2019) exclusively via DAZN from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The main event brought the Welterweight Grand Prix back into the spotlight as Michael “Venom” Page (13-0) and Paul “Semtex” Daley (40-16-2) battled for a chance to advance to face Douglas Lima.
A horrible first round saw Daley circling laterally on the outside of the cage the entire frame and not throwing a strike. Page didn’t do much more, but he did do more, so the first round would arguably be scored in his favor.
The surprising thing that few people expected was that Daley shot for and got takedowns over the next two rounds, stifling any chance at offensive output for Page. Daley was even scoring big shots against the fence when he’d back up and let Page think about getting up. Even in Daley’s dominance for ten minutes there were flashes of Page’s striking style.
Page seemed to be in danger of letting the fight slip away completely as we went into the championship rounds, but suddenly Page hurt Daley with a jump knee in the fourth round and took back control. In the fifth round he was able to reverse the takedown attempts and wind up on top doing damage, which gave him the narrow 48-47 win with all three judges.
“Venom” spoke to John McCarthy about the five round war he survived against “Semtex.”
“He didn’t come here to fight. MVP came to fight. He was bragging about being a striker and did more takedowns than he ever did in his career. MVP is here to stay. It will be an absolute honor to share the cage with someone I respected (Lima) since I joined Bellator. I’ve always had massive amounts of respect for this man.”
Douglas Lima was waiting to offer his respects in return and his thoughts on the fight.
“Definitely different than we expected. Still it was a great fight. Page got it done, he’s still undefeated, it will be an honor to fight him. Expect fireworks when we get in this cage on May 11th. He’s a puzzle that’s yet to be solved. I’m gonna do my homework, I’m gonna come prepared, I can’t wait.”
Mirko Cro Cop (37-11-2, 1 NC) looked to settle an old score with “Big Country” Roy Nelson (23-16) after the latter finished him by TKO in round three of their first encounter at UFC 137.
Cro Cop’s first and second round strategy was all about blocking shots by Nelson, turning him into the fence to land the left uppercut, then throwing leg kicks and liver shots whenever Nelson was at range. Watching live it looked a little bit like this.
As the time continued to tick away, Nelson lived up to the old J.R. adage of being “tougher than a two dollar steak.” Nelson would occasionally land an effective counter strike or knee in the clinch, but he never scored the big damage he did in his first meeting with Cro Cop.
Nelson finally got the takedown he was looking for the whole fight late in round three, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide as Cro Cop kept it chest to chest and didn’t take any damage in the last minute. This resulted in a unanimous verdict of 30-27 and 29-28 X2 for Cro Cop, winning his seventh out of seven rematches to date.
“Big” John McCarthy spoke to Cro Cop after the result was made official.
“Roy is tough like always you know. More tough for me mentally than physically. It’s hard to say you know. When you’re getting older you’re older but I feel good in here, that’s most important.”
This was not the only Heavyweight rematch in store for the evening. Dating all the way back to Bellator 115, a renewed rivalry saw former Heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov (21-0) try to knock off Cheick Kongo (29-10-2) again, the latter riding a seven fight win streak.
Minakov was the aggressor throughout the first round, charging forward to throw looping hooks, getting clinches, and taking Kongo off his feet. Kongo turned the tide in the second and third round, though it may have been hard to tell due to long periods of inactivity by both men. The difference in the scoring was during those lone minutes of activity, Kongo was scoring with uppercuts and knees, depleting Minakov’s gas tank to the point that at the end of the third round he was doubled over on his hands and knees.
Kongo recorded the victory via unanimous decision of 30-27, 29-28 X2, avenging his previous loss to Minakov and extending his win streak to eight. He explained the long periods of inactivity to “Big” John McCarthy afterward.
“So first of all, sorry. I want to thank you guys for all of the support and love you gave me tonight. The thing is you know I came here for the fight and I got sick. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t digest anything. At the weigh in you could see my weight was pretty low. So that’s why (I wasn’t always active). I spent four years trying to stay in place as a contender. Who else has done it?”
An exciting Welterweight fight saw the undefeated Yaroslav Amosov (20-0) face off with Erick Silva (20-9, 1 NC) in his long-awaited Bellator debut.
The only round where Amosov seemed to have any trouble with Silva was the first, where dynamic striking gave “Dynamo” pause and even drew a little blood, but it was a close frame either way. The next two rounds were dominated by takedowns, some of them hit with emphatic authority, preventing Silva from doing anything whatsoever but getting up to get thrown to the ground again. The judges scored it all for Amosov 29-27 and 29-28 X2. No post-fight interview followed.
Finally a Flyweight bout between newcomer Valerie Loureda (0-0) and her more experienced foe Colby Fletcher (1-2) kicked off the main card.
Loureda is recognized as a Taekwando master and showed off why with a flurry of strikes from all angles until she dropped Fletcher with a combo and body kick. She poured on right hand hammerfists until Kevin MacDonald stopped it by TKO at 2:55 of Round 1.
She spoke to John McCarthy about her triumphant pro debut afterward.
“This is the moment I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl. I dreamed of the day I would earn the opportunity to show my martial arts to the world. Thank you Scott Coker, thank you to American Top Team for being the best of the best, thank you to Taekwando for making the best of the best, thank you to Connecticut, thank you to 305, and thank you to my father and my academy — we are the Loureda sisters. Every day I go into training it’s a mental battle with myself. I want to be at this competitive level with all of these fighters. Thank you to all of you at Top Team who have supported me and made me evolve. Thank you for sparring with me and not getting mad when I go too hard!”
For complete Bellator 216 results and coverage click here.