Michael Page: Title shot next should be result of Bellator 292 win over Goiti Yamauchi
SAN JOSE, Calif. – It’s not set in stone, but Michael Page thinks a win Friday should mean his next time out will be with a title on the line.
Page (20-2 MMA, 16-2 BMMA), who fought for an interim welterweight title in May 2022, returns Friday against Goiti Yamauchi (28-5 MMA, 14-4 BMMA) to open the main card at Bellator 292. And while the promotion hasn’t called it an official No. 1 contender fight, that’s precisely what “MVP” thinks is going on.
“I think that’s what it is,” Page said at a Wednesday media day ahead of the fight. “It just makes the most sense that that’s what it is. I don’t see anybody else ready to be in our position. I think the winner of this fight fights the winner of the next title fight, which is most likely going to be Jason Jackson (against champion Yaroslav) Amosov.”
Page lost to Logan Storley in an interim title bout less than a year ago, then had a Bellator-blessed one-off BKFC fight with Mike Perry to stay active. Storley lost his title unification bid against Amosov in February, and Bellator president Scott Coker said afterward that Jackson is next in line for a shot at Amosov’s belt.
If for some reason Page didn’t get a title shot after Friday and was offered a rematch with Storley instead, he said he wouldn’t hesitate.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah – I’m a grudge specialist,” Page told MMA Junkie. “I hold grudges. He’s beat me, so I’d like to run that back and get that back – definitely.”
First, though, he has a stern test against Yamauchi, a jiu-jitsu specialist who has been on a roll with six wins in his past seven fights, including five stoppages. His lone loss in that stretch was by split decision to Dan Moret in a bout the majority of observers scored in Yamauchi’s favor.
A former featherweight and longtime lightweight, Yamauchi said he’s starting to feel at home now at welterweight. And at just 30, he seems to be peaking at the right time.
Page, an elite striker, theoretically should want to stand against the ground wizard. And Yamauchi, the grappling ace, should want to be on the mat where he can limit the kickboxer’s options.
But don’t expect Page to fall into any macho trappings.
“I personally believe it’s as simple as, yeah, I want him in my arena and he wants me in his arena,” Page said. “A comment has been made, supposedly from him, where he says, ‘”MVP” is underestimating my striking.’ I’m not underestimating your striking. I just don’t believe your level of striking is my level.
“And if you want to play striking, I’m happy to do that all day. I think that’s where egos get in the way sometimes, and I don’t think that’s necessary. I value you and I appreciate you and I aspire to get to your level of jiu-jitsu, but I’m not going to try and compete against you just for the sake of so showing that I can do jiu-jitsu. I know I can do jIu-jitsu. I don’t need to prove to anybody that I can do jiu-jitsu. I’m just not your level. I haven’t done it as long as you, and I’m not as skilled as you and I can accept it, put my ego to one side and then just try to knock you out, beause that’s what I do best.”
Bellator 292 takes place Friday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
Check out Page’s full media day interview in the video above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 292.
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