SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA — Michael “Venom” Page is ready to rebound.
2022 was a rough year for the man often referred to as “MVP,” suffering defeats in both MMA and his bare-knuckle boxing debut. This weekend (Fri., March 10, 2023) at Bellator 292 in the SAP Center, Page (20-2) looks to get back to his typical winning ways by halting the momentum of submission ace Goiti Yamauchi.
Page, 35, has often been criticized by fans throughout his career for getting special treatment or favorable matchups from Bellator. Currently in the thick of contention at welterweight as the No. 2-ranked fighter, it’s hard to continue arguing that’s Page’s case.
“I think people like to jump on bandwagons,” Page told MMA Mania of past fan critiques. “Once something’s been said and there’s something that keeps on coming up, people will jump on that and it’s usually a lot of uneducated people in the sport. They watch the sport, but only the key players shall I say.
“I still get a lot of fans going, ‘Oh, you do UFC don’t you?’ I think it’s a lot of lack of education, which makes it easier to then jump on whatever bandwagon is being represented. To be fair, it doesn’t really bother me. I’ve enjoyed my journey thus far and I’m still enjoying my journey as I go along. I love combat, which is why I do so much random stuff, boxing, bare-knuckle. I’ll try it all. I’m just living my best life.”
Facing talented grapplers is nothing new for Page ahead of his bout with Yamauchi. The Japanese jiu-jitsu wizard Yamauchi has, however, added some impressive new striking elements to his game, extending his current winning streak to three in Aug. 2022 with a knockout of Neiman Gracie.
Regardless of Yamauchi’s striking improvements, Page expects his foe to be no match on the feet, leading to the ground specialist seeking his natural area of comfort.
“His last fight is not really a representation of him, in my opinion,” Page said. “Simply because they’re both high-level jiu-jitsu fighters and a lot of the time, you might get two wrestlers or two jiu-jitsu guys, and they opt out of going into that space. If we want to figure out who’s the better jiu-jitsu guy, we’ll just go and do a jiu-jitsu competition instead of trying to figure that out [in a fight].
“I think he’s gonna stick to his game cause that’s what he’s best at. He’s gonna try his best to figure out a way to get to me and pull me down into his world, and that’s pretty much gonna be it.”
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