The most unfortunate of circumstances necessitated the introduction of an interim welterweight title at Bellator 281 in London on Friday.
With Yaroslav Amosov defending his home country of Ukraine against invading Russian forces, he was pulled from a title fight with Michael Page — with wrestling standout Logan Storley stepping up to take his place.
MVP was a whirlwind of fakes and feints early, with Storley biting on many of them in the opening minute of the Bellator 281 main event. When Page finally struck, he clipped Storley on the side of the head with a right hand, but the wrestler immediately dropped, grabbed a leg, and took “Venom” Page down. Storley had a leg trapped along the fence, preventing Page from climbing to his feet. When Page did make it up, he had Storley on his back with a body lock. With dogged determination, Storley dragged Page back down. Most of the first round played out like a wrestling match as a result, with almost no offense thrown by Storley, who was winning the fight regardless.
Page was more active early in the second — feinting less, landing more. Page would land a hook, Storley answered back, but was having trouble finding his range, both for his stand-up and entries. This time, it was two minutes in when Storley latched on to a leg, hunting for a takedown. The ref warned the pair to stay busy; Storley completed the takedown. When MVP got up, Storley wrestled him down again— a little off the cage this time, but Page shrimped back to the fence.
The third round played out in similar fashion. Page was being out-wrestled, and when he did return to his feet, he couldn’t stay there long. Storley wasn’t getting much damage in, but he didn’t need to — he was winning on takedowns, control time, and coming out on top in all the positional battles along the fence. Again in the third, the ref warned the pair for the lack of action, but he refused to separate them.
Between rounds, the ref warned Storley for the lack of action again. “I know you’re working, but I need to see more.” To start round four, Page landed a solid right hand. He’d hit home with another a moment later. A jab split the guard of Storley. MVP fired a kick, then a right hand. Another, a moment later. Page couldn’t get much in the way of combinations going, but his single strikes were accurate. Halfway through the round, Page was in control, with Storley retreating. A right hand by Page was blocked, he landed a follow-up left. But it was the right hand that was key, and Storey didn’t shoot for a takedown until the final 90 seconds in the round. He’d land the attempt, but again, struggle to do anything with it.
A flying knee attempt from Michael Page early in round five led to an early takedown by Logan Storley. Again, while he worked for position, Storley couldn’t make much happen with it. Page got back up with two minutes to go, but this time Storley landed a big takedown out at center. He rode out the round there, much to the annoyance of the crowd, and would claim a split decision win to capture interim gold.
Not the fight anyone was hoping for, but Logan Storley got the job done on Friday.
Official Result: Logan Storley def. Michael Page by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)