The highly anticipated rematch between Douglas “The Phenom” Lima and Michael “Venom” Page took place in the main event of Bellator 267 yesterday. In their first matchup, Lima stunned Page by handing him his first professional defeat in the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix Semifinal in 2019. On Friday night, the pair of welterweights squared off in what many are calling an anticlimactic grudge match. The bout went the 15-minute distance and went to the judges’ scorecards. In a controversial split decision, MVP earned the victory and settled the score between him and Lima. So, did the judges get it right?
Lima vs. MVP 2—Did the Judges Get It Right?
To preface, it was interesting to see Page take the red corner last night considering he came into the matchup ranked behind Lima. In addition, having lost the first matchup, it would seem as if he would be in the blue corner. In any case, the bell to start round one saw both men meet at the centre of the Bellator cage; MVP opening to his karate style stance and Lima sitting in his more traditional, orthodox stance.
MVP started fast, showing a lot of feints, and taking control of the centre of the cage. However, Lima looked relatively unbothered by Page’s movement, utilizing patience-something a veteran of more than 40 fights has in bulk. Page lands a blitzing right hand about a minute into the first, dropping Lima, although the drop looked more like a slip.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) October 1, 2021
Lima then gets up and moves forward, pressuring Page towards the outskirts of the cage. MVP lands another right hand that drops Lima, but the hometown favorite backs up and Lima resumes his position as the pressure fighter. At about the halfway point of round one, Lima slips a right from Page and scores a takedown. For the rest of the round, Lima would sit in a dominant position but would be able to do little in terms of generating offense, struggling to break Page’s grip on his wrists.
The first round is tough to score. The crowd wanes its favor towards Page, but in terms of performance, Lima earns a close 10-9.
Round two opens much like round one with Page showing a lot of feints, but this time Lima scores an early counter right. Both fighters look incredibly patient—Page looking to blitz in, where Lima looks for the counter. Notably, Page’s IQ is showing. In their previous fight, Page worked forward recklessly and got caught. In this fight, Page looked content to sit back and let Lima work forward, only moving forward when he felt safe to do so.
This would work out to be incredibly important for MVP, as Lima would land a low kick (in almost mirror-like fashion to the fight-ending sequence of their previous fight) but Page would be able to slip back and avoid the follow upright.
More feints and more movement would follow from both men as the round would work into its final minute. MVP would make a level change that almost looked like a takedown attempt that would lead to nothing. Page would follow up and land another blitzing right hand, dropping Lima for a moment.
Lima’s cage work and striking success outweighs Page’s brief offensive success. Lima takes round two much more clearly than round one.
Totals through Round Two: Lima-20. Page-18
Not much in terms of action would occur in the first minute of the final round. Lots of feints and movement from both men but nothing in terms of landing offense. Both men would blitz forward at points, earning pops from the crowd but nothing more. Page would land a good right hand two minutes into the third, but Lima would continue to work forward, making Page work along the edge of the cage.
With two minutes to go, Lima would score his second takedown of the night. “The Phenom” would land a few strikes from full guard as the final round would work towards expiration, but nothing too noteworthy. A strong elbow from Lima would be the last significant strike of the fight.
Fight totals: Lima-30. Page-27
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) October 1, 2021
Although Lima is scored to win all three rounds, this fight, in no sense, is a “robbery” as Bellator’s Instagram comment section may suggest. The first round was so incredibly close that it could have been scored either way. In many ways, round three was like round one. Lima was more productive on the ground and MVP found more success overall on the feet.
If either man in any round, would have pushed the pace or took a risk, this fight would have seen a “unanimous” winner, not a contested one. Both fighters were incredibly patient and calculated, but perhaps so much so that both failed to stand out as a clear-cut victor.
Keep the conversation going down below. Who do you think won this fight?
Featured Image from of Bellator Twitter.