A jumping knee so powerful it crushed his opponent’s skull, legendary showboating and a Tornado kick from hell… Michael ‘Venom’ Page’s best moments ahead of Bellator 267 rematch with Douglas Lima
- Michael ‘Venom’ Page is renowned for his slick, entertaining striking style
- He has delivered a number of viral moments during his fights down the years
- British star is in action this Friday in a rematch against Brazilian Douglas Lima
- Sportsmail has taken a look at some of Page’s most eye-catching moments
MMA is a sport that lends itself to showmanship and moments of jaw-dropping entertainment but perhaps Michael ‘Venom’ Page is the most dazzling of all fighters.
The British star is renowned for being able to showboat to a degree that thrills fans and enrages his opponents, but crucially, is then able to follow up with stunning knockout blows.
Page previously told Sportsmail: ‘I’m always training to finish, I’ve got one or two moves that if I land I know are going to blow up the internet’, and he’ll be out to do the very same while exacting revenge over Douglas Lima in London this Friday night.
Lima remains the only defeat on the No 2-ranked Bellator welterweight’s record.
Michael ‘Venom’ Page remains one of the most engaging showmen in MMA
So it will be a tough ask for the Hackney fighter to produce the kind of viral moment he has become associated with.
But as his long list of victims will attest, he can strike with stunning ferocity with any limb at any time.
With that in mind, and to whet the appetite ahead of Friday’s headline act at Wembley Arena, here are some of Page’s best moments.
Flying knee crushes Cyborg’s skull
This was an unforgettable, kung-fu movie-like KO for Page and caused one of the most sickening injuries ever seen in the cage.
He waited for his moment to strike and timed it to perfection, springing forward just as his Brazilian opponent, Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos, lunged forward with a punch.
Cyborg was off balance and totally unprepared for the impact.
He recoiled in pain and was seen clutching his head in agony as the referee immediately waved off the contest.
*WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW*
The British fighter timed his knee as Cyborg lunged forward with a right hand
A digital scan of Evangelista Cyborg’s fractured skull (above) and in hospital showing the huge dent (below)
That was five years ago and Cyborg opted to never fight again, retiring from competition after what could have been a fatal blow.
After the bout, his ex-wife Cris Cyborg, admitted: ‘The doctors were worried the brain swelling could cause more damage. They said it could have been life-threatening.’
Page’s celebration was typically inventive, he collected a Pokemon hat and Pokeball from his team outside the cage, returned and then rolled it in the direction of his stricken opponent.
Spinning kicks and moves of athleticism most fighters can only dream of are what has made Page must-see TV.
But he showed he has many strings to his bow with an unusual and creative submission against Jeremie Holloway in the fight prior to his KO of Cyborg.
With his back up against the cage and a grip of Holloway’s ankle, Page contorted the limb to force his opponent to tap out from a reverse ankle lock.
And there was some extra delight in the finish. Prior to the contest, Holloway had yelled at Page, prompting the Brit to stare coldly at him after the finish, confusing some fans.
Page showed there are many strings to his bow when he submitted Jeremie Holloway
Afterwards, Page explained on MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani: ‘As I was walking to the bottom of the ramp, [Holloway] was screaming at me from the cage.
‘When I got in the cage, as I’m walking up and down, minding my own business for now just kind of embracing the moment, he shouted at me from the other side, ‘look at me! Look at me! I’m going to smash you! Look at me!’
‘That’s why I looked at him at the end. When I tell people that they say, “oh, that makes sense now”. So after I caught the submission, I stared in his face. Like yeah, I’m looking at you now. It was kind of like a little come back to what he was doing.’
This finish was a great watch but it was the minute of action beforehand that meant the KO was the icing on the cake.
Page was showcasing all of his elite level striking skills against Ricky Rainey. This was back in 2014 in his debut for Bellator and he immediately made waves.
He followed a jumping knee with a spinning back fist and then proceeded to look away from his opponent, looking like the most relaxed man in the arena.
Page then engaged again, landing a couple of single jabs thrown from below his waist before stepping in, extending his right hand and dropping Rainy to the canvas.
It was his coming out party in the organisation and exhibited all that fans could look forward to seeing.
Page showed everything that makes him a special fighter in his Bellator debut
Wobbly leg celebration and annoying the ref
Some of Page’s antics walking to and from the cage are a spectacle in their own right, as are his celebrations and taunts.
There was plenty of verbal sparring with Richard Kiely prior to their 2019 fight but Page had the last laugh.
He sent Kiely tottering backwards before he fell back on the mat after eating a jumping knee.
MVP annoyed referee Dan Miragliotta during his fight against Richard Kiely for what the official believed was unsportsmanlike behaviour
MVP’s athleticism and timing are a huge challenge for opponents, as Richard Kiely found
Page immediately started imitating Kiely by stumbling around the cage, mocking his opponent’s unsteady legs.
Earlier in the contest, Page had been taunting Kiely on the ground, gesturing and making facial expressions to supporters watching him in the dominant position.
The conduct angered referee Dan Miragliotta to the point where he stood the fighters up again due to what he called unsportsmanlike conduct.
Watching his opponent’s mental disintegration
‘That was truthfully an embarrassing fight for me’, reflected Dave Rickels after MVP had put on a clinic and broken his will.
‘It was worse (than any other loss) because I got broke,’ the beaten American told MMA Junkie. ‘I got broke and I thought that I was going to break him in the fight.
‘In my (expletive) head, that’s my game plan. Hindsight’s always 20/20. He is so good at the games, of making you not the fighter that you usually are. And I got mad.’
Rickels followed Page around, trying desperately to land clean shots only to find himself picked apart at will.
It was like a predator toying with his prey and almost became hard to watch.
The commentator described it as like watching a ‘human video game’. Early in the second round, Page walloped Rickels with a huge right hand that opened up a cut.
Rickels was not rocked by the blow and then waved the contest off himself, essentially giving up, which is so rarely seen from an MMA fighter. It just showed the capacity of Page to break his opponents mentally and physically.
A Tornado kick from hell
In his first professional MMA appearance, Page was to the manor born.
It was almost as though his movements were so loose he was dancing as much as showboating.
Ben Dishman was the poor victim on that occasion and was on the receiving end of an extraordinary knockout.
Having shaken off a takedown attempt and landed strikes of his own from range, seemingly at will, Page then delivered a Tornado kick.
His foot connected with Dishman’s head and sent him stumbling, as if in slow motion, back towards the mat.
The small crowd lapped up a first-round finish while the commentators dubbed Page the ‘UK version of Anderson Silva’.
Walk-off left hand KO
Page can put his rivals away with one-shot power off either fist and proved it with a stunning left against Rudy Bears.
In the 2015 fight, Page lined up in his familiar kick-boxing stance, hands low and feet constantly moving.
Bears missed by a distance when throwing a head kick and two wild punches early in the round and it took just four minutes for Page to dispatch his opponent.
He waited for Bears to engage again and timed his strike to perfection, stepping in with a stunning shot.
Bears sat up from the mat but was clearly still half conscious and the referee waved a stop to the contest, mercifully if the first four minutes were anything to go by.
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