The fireworks failed to fizzle, but it was intriguing nonetheless. Four years in the making, the grudge fight between British mixed martial artists Michael Page and Paul Daley – both renowned strikers – ended as something of a stalemate here in the headline event on Saturday night.
That’s not to say it was not intriguing. It was. But it was a chess match of deep proportions, lacking the explosive qualities that have made the two welterweight fighters favourites with the fans, and carrying them to this point.
Page took the five round fight 48-47 on all three judges cards, and now progresses, still unbeaten, to the semi final of the Bellator welterweight tournament, where he faces a truly stern test against former 170lb champion Douglas Lima.
“I came to fight, he didn’t,” said Page afterwards . “He said he was coming for the knockout, but he lied. He never wanted to engage, and just clung on to me. I’m disappointed because I always want to please the fans, and I’m always looking to finish.”
Page needed to win the last round on my cards, after the two fighters went 2-2 after four rounds.
It was a very very cagey affair at the start. Very cagey. The two men danced. And danced. And danced. Page stalked. Daley stayed away, circling the periphery of the combat arena for almost the entire first round, not landing a single blow, while his rival landed one jab and two kicks to the body.