There are plenty of Mixed Martial Arts match ups on the global stage that need to happen and happen pronto. In the first of a series of five pieces I take a look at several fights that need to happen but more importantly need to happen on UK soil.
First up a welterweight showdown which has been simmering for a while and even as you read this the narrative continues to be built by both men. I’m of course referring to Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley vs Michael ‘Venom’ Page. A clash which has all the hall marks of ‘Beef’ written all over it and running through it. Long story short Page feels he needs to physically put manners on Daley after being slighted by him in a video interview. Daley has emphatically agreed this can happen but at a time of his choosing.
For a while I’ve pushed the ‘modern day equivalent to Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank’ tag for this match up and it seems, according to the self proclaimed ‘A-Side’ of this match up, Daley, that 2018, specifically Summer time, is when we will see this going down.
As yet nothing has been negotiated and Daley has already mapped out his preferred fight path for 2018. He recently took to Facebook to announce that Alexander Schelmenko, former Bellator Middlweight champion, is firmly in his sight. Daley said “I’ve spoken directly with his management, they’ve agreed. He’s spoke directly to the Russian media. He’s agreed, he’s coming to 170lbs and he would like to fight me.” Daley also promised Lorenz Larkin a rematch, ‘Semtex’, being a man of his word, is keen to prove his spectacular KO of Larkin was not a fluke.
What’s clear from the reaction of fans and fighters alike, the build up to this clash will be unlike anything we have witnessed in MMA on this side of the pond. Daley’s insistence that this takes place in the Summer of 2018 is an excellent call. This fight is by far the biggest rivalry UK Mixed Martial Arts has seen in a decade. A summer tent pole event put on by Bellator is just what this warrants to elevate its importance and give it the gravitas it deserves.
The war of words which will accompany this will no doubt match the impressive display of striking that will be unleashed by both men on fight night. The war so far, in terms of verbal jabs thrown, appears to be won thus far by Michael Page. His quips, nicknames and memes for Daley are indeed a sight to behold. However, I have a feeling as we near the inevitable showdown that ‘Semtex’ will undoubtedly come out swinging verbally with bad intentions.