LONDON — Logan Storley claimed the interim Bellator Welterweight title in London on Friday with a split-decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) victory over Michael “Venom” Page at the OVO Arena Wembley.
Page was looking to become just the third-ever British fighter to become a world champion in MMA, following Michael Bisping (UFC Middleweight champion in 2016) and Liam McGeary (Bellator Light Heavyweight champion in 2015), but failed to get the job done at Bellator 281 in arguably the biggest night of his career.
Page, whose nickname is “MVP,” was originally scheduled to face Yaroslov Amosov, who had to withdraw due to his active service in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February. Storley stepped in with eight weeks to prepare for the fight.
Storely tapped into his four-time NCAA All-American wrestling pedigree as he tussled with Page for much of an uneventful opening round, a theme for the fight as the American repeatedly aimed to bring the fight to the mat.
The South Dakota-born fighter looked better in the second round, too, keeping Page, who Bellator’s No. 9 ranked pound-for-pound fighter, at bay. But MVP sprang into action in the third, opening with a jumping knee kick, as well as landing a series of powerful blows.
The London crowd booed on-and-off for in the remaining round of the fight as Storley looked to keep Page off his feet, always staying busy enough to avoid a restart.
Page looked for a finish in the final round but went unsuccessful, leaving his fate to the judges, who awarded the win to Storley.
“Boo me all you want, nobody stands with him,” Storley told the crowd after the fight. “So can boo me, but I’m the world champ.”
The win for Storley means he follows in the footsteps of his hometown hero Brock Lesnar in becoming an MMA world champion. The pair both wrestled at Webster High School in rural South Dakota.
Storely’s only career defeat came against Amosov via split decision in November 2020.
Middleweight: Fabian Edwards (10-2) def. Lyoto Machida (26-12) via knockout
For Machida, another fight brings another defeat.
The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion entered the cage for the first time in over a year on Friday but suffered a fourth-straight defeat, this time at the hands of Edwards.
Edwards, who calls himself “The Dragon”, landed a devastating left hook at the end of the first round in the co-main event, sending No. 6-ranked Machida crashing to the floor before he followed up with a series of blows to earn a knockout victory.
The Birmingham-born fighter entered Friday needing a victory himself having lost his two previous bouts, his previous win coming in 2019.
Women’s Flyweight: Kana Watanabe (11-1-1) def. Denise Kielholtz (6-4) by submission
Watanabe can set her eyes on a rematch with flyweight title fight with reigning champion Liz Carmouche after she earned a submission victory over No. 2 ranked Kielholtz.
The fight got off to an explosive start as Kielholtz delivered a left hook in the opening seconds and looked to have taken the first round. However, Kielholtz made an illegal kick to Watanabe’s face, causing the referee to issue a point deduction. That would not come to matter though as Wanatabe took down her opponent and forced her to tap out under the pressure of a triangle hold.
No. 3-ranked Watanabe lost to Caramouche via technical knockout last June. Friday’s victory extends her Bellator record to 3-1.
Welterweight: Paul Daley (44-18-2) def. Wendell Giacomo (9-3) via knockout
Daley can ride off into the sunset with his head held high.
The English fighter ended his 19-year career on Friday with a stunning second-round knockout-victory over Bellator debutant Giacomo.
Daley, 39, was fighting in his 64th professional bout and put an end to a career that began in 2003 and saw him battle with Nick Diaz, Michael Page and Douglas Lima among others, as well as becoming a welterweight champion in the now-defunct Cage Rage.
“I’m quite emotional,” Daley said, as the London crowd chanted his name. “If it wasn’t for the fans. There has never been a fighter who has been at the top of the pyramid, fell so far and kept at it like I have.”
Giacomo looked the better of the two fighters in the first round, pinning his opponent to the mat with long clinches, but Daley tapped into his wealth of experience and delivered a sensational right hook to earn himself a victorious farewell.
Light Heavyweight: Simon Biyong (8-2) def. Luke Trainer (5-1) via unanimous decision
Biyong scored a unanimous decision (29-27, 28-27, 29-28) to hand Luke Trainer the first defeat of his professional career.
The 31-year-old, fighting out of Genoa, Italy by the way of Cameroon, scored a unanimous decision victory over Trainer in a rollercoaster fight.
Biyong was flattened by Trainer in the first round and survived as his opponent tried for a choke. He rebounded in the second round, cutting Trainer early on before mounting him on the mat and delivering a barrage of punches. Trainer was able to force the fight to a third round, but another dominant round from Biyong was enough to secure an important victory.
Friday’s victory was Biyong’s first in Bellator, having lost his only previous fight in the promotion in June 2021.
“I’m back, light heavyweight [division]. Get ready,” Biyong said. “I’m back!”