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3 reasons to tune into Bellator 216

MVP’s record is 13-0 so far — but can he stand up to Daley’s experience?

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Name of the Fight: Bellator 216: MVP vs. Daley

Date: February 16 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT

Time: 10 p.m. EST

Network: Exclusively on DAZN

Despite being a battle between two of England’s most prolific and dangerous strikers, Bellator 216’s headline bout will be a Stateside affair. That’s because Michael “Venom” Page and Paul “Semtex” Daley will face off in Connecticut on February 16, as part of the DAZN exclusive Welterweight World Grand Prix tournament. The fight has been a while in the making, with both fighters talking a lot of trash over the last few years about their respective striking abilities. Now, fans will finally get to see two of the best from across the pond face off for Welterweight bragging rights and a chance at Rory MacDonald’s title belt. Here’s how we think this fight might shake out.

MVP has never lost, and will look to use his legs to advance in the Grand Prix...

Page, who goes by the MVP moniker, is one of the most fearsome kickers that the Bellator arena has ever seen. Boasting a 13-0 record heading into his showdown with Daley, MVP is riding a wave of momentum since debuting his unique style for the company at 2013’s Bellator 93, with a knockout win over Ryan Sanders. Ever the showman, Page is a must-see fighter because of his brutal leg strikes as well as his idiosyncratic demeanor inside the cage. Whether it’s to hype himself and his loyal fans, or just to scare opponents, he bops around the ring, relying on his superior athleticism and quirky fighting style to dishevel opponents.

Perhaps Page’s most famous and shocking moment came at Bellator 158, when he broke the skull of Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos with a sickening knee strike. While fighters usually do not want to injure other fighters, particularly with such viciousness, MVP’s power is nothing to mess around with, as Santos found out. He followed up that win with another impressive victory over David Rickels, who had to submit after getting his eye cut open by the 31-year-old London native. Now, Page will face the man that he said “kinda sucks,” someone who he believes has let the Bellator division pass him by.

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...but Daley is more experienced and better suited for the Page challenge than any previous opponent.

Despite his recent struggles, Daley is no slouch, however. The 35-year-old fighter from Nottingham may boast more losses than Page has MMA fights (Daley has lost 16 times), but he’s a brutal striker himself. Thirty of his 40 wins have ended with either a TKO or a straight-up knockout. Most recently, Daley lost to Jon Fitch at Bellator 199 by unanimous decision, and he’s in a bit of a slump, having lost three times in his last five fights.

MVP should not take his elder countryman lightly, though; Daley’s punches are flurry in nature and destructive in power. He will likely be Page’s hardest opponent yet, as the less experienced kickboxer has never stepped into the Bellator cage with someone that can match his power and surpass it. Even though their winning percentages are lopsided in favor of Page, Daley’s experience could carry the day in this clash of power hitters.

There’s more at stake to Bellator 216 than just the title.

Daley is an accomplished kicker himself, having competed professionally as a kickboxer and racking up a 21-3 record. To beat him, Page will have to bring his A-game, matching Daley kick for kick while avoiding the one-punch knockout power from his similarly sized opponent. A lot of the advantages that Page has faced in his rise to the main event will be neutralized, which is why it would be a shocking upset if he pulls this off.

Then again, strange things happen when countrymen fight each other; there’s more than just the Bellator prestige at stake here. It’s the pride of a fighting-crazy country, one that will likely be showing out strongly despite the location of the fight. Will Page be able to feed off of the crowd enough to knock out Daley, who has only had that fate befall him twice in his career inside the MMA cage? Or will Daley’s superior technique and ability to adapt push him over the top as many expect? It’s hard to say, but one thing fight fans can expect is a brutal fight that could end quickly; one cleanly hit power strike from either of these two fighters could be enough to end the other’s night before it really begins.

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