After gruesome ending vs. Yamauchi, Michael Page not in the mood for another long wait
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Michael Page sees no real next option beyond a Bellator title shot – but knows it could be a matter of bad timing.
Page (21-2 MMA, 17-2 BMMA) on Friday opened up the Bellator 292 main card in San Jose, Calif., with a bizarre knockout win over Goiti Yamauchi (28-6 MMA, 14-5 BMMA) that stemmed from a Page kick and a gruesome apparent patella tendon injury to Yamauchi.
Minutes after he left the cage, at a post-fight news conference at SAP Center, Page still was unsure what happened, other than he went from jubilant to concerned.
“I saw him go down and I just thought, I don’t know – nerve (damage), whatever,” Page told MMA Junkie. “But when I saw him grasp his leg, I was like, ‘He’s not getting back up.’ I didn’t see the lump (in his kneecap) until I looked up at the screen. I’m in my celebrating element, and then I actually looked up to see what it was, and it kind of took the energy out of me
“I come here to win fights – 100 percent. But I don’t like taking money out of people’s pockets. And what I mean is, yes, he’s going to get paid for this fight. But because of the damage, he’s going to be out a lot longer, whereas if I knocked him out or whatever, 90-day (suspension), blah, blah, blah, which is, he’s not going to get a fight in between that time anyway. Then he’d be back ready, making money again, ready to fight again. So I just hate that for him.”
The win put England’s Page back in the win column, and it came not long after welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov defended his title against then-interim champ Logan Storley. Bellator president Scott Coker has said Jason Jackson is next in line for a shot at the 170-pound belt, but given Amosov just had a five-round fight with Storley, an Amosov-Jackson title bout isn’t likely until the summer months at the earliest.
If Page wants a title shot next, he could be looking at the end of the calendar year for a return. That would be a situation he’s all too familiar with. After his split decision loss to Storley for the interim title in May 2022, Page so badly wanted to fight again that Bellator let him have a one-off bareknuckle boxing match with former UFC fighter Mike Perry at BKFC.
So the 35-year-old “MVP” doesn’t seem like he’s going to want to wait again, particularly since he walked away from the Yamauchi fight virtually unscathed.
“I feel like I’m already in that (title) race with a win like that,” Page said. “There are not many others in the division. I think a few people have lost just below me in the rankings, so I’m looking at the top. It’s just dependent on how long I’m going to have to wait. I haven’t taken too much damage at all, so I don’t want to have to wait months on end before I’m back again.
“I enjoyed being back in there – the crowd, just that energy. So (I want to fight again) as soon as possible. If it’s not the title, then just whoever’s (ready). … It’s just progression. That’s all it is – whoever’s next in line. I need to fight to keep progressing and going forward. That’s what I’m going to do. I can’t say specific names – our division, everyone’s kind of waiting and it’s always difficult, and the promotion itself has a difficult time to match people at the right times and blah, blah, blah. But I’m ready.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 292.
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