07 February 2019 13:32

Bellator MMA Mixed martial arts Paul Daley

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Bellator rivals Paul Daley, Michael Page verbally spar during heated U.K. news conference

It didn't take long for sparks to fly between U.K. welterweight rivals Paul Daley and Michael Page when they took to the stage at Wednesday's Bellator press conference in London, England. Daley and Page are set to clash in the main event of Bellator 216, which takes place Feb. 16 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. All the talk is over, February 16th we're going to fight and that is that," Daley continued, as if he hadn't heard his upcoming opponent's contribution. "The reason why this fight hasn't happened years before is because he's a little b*tch. "I was watching you fighting the other day in a leisure center on some square mats…on some square mats fighting for some orange juice and sandwiches," Daley shouted in Page's direction referencing Page's kickboxing career.

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So many people contact me now calling you 'Tampax', it's mad," said MVP, who then began to mimic how Daley fights using the package. "This guy is so good on social media that he's fooled people into thinking he's a credible and good fighter: he's not," Daley returned. He says he has solved the puzzle so many of Michael Page's (13-0 MMA, 8-0 BMMA) previous opponents failed to master, and that he's ready to halt the hype train of his countryman. Daley and Page participated in an ill-tempered news conference in London today ahead of their main event clash at Bellator 216, which takes place Feb. 16 in Uncasville, Conn. "He knows he's in there with a very, very capable, very, very durable knockout artist – one of the worst people to fight if you're not a wrestler.

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But Daley says he's stripped down his opponent's style by going back to Page's roots as a point-fighting kickboxer. "He's not as unique as he thinks, and the guys I've brought in to spar, I've said: 'Look, you're not Michael Page. Daley explained that the light-contact sparring sessions – which saw him face a completely different type of martial artist to the type he's made a career against inside the cage – served as a lightbulb moment when he realized how he needed to approach the fight with Page. "The first sparring I had with these guys, it was like, 'This is what I needed,' and at that moment I knew he couldn't beat me, because I realized what other people were feeling, and I don't think they prepared for that," Daley said. The trash talk that has been going back and forth for the past 18 months now is almost over, and while Page is still looking to point-score with verbal jabs, Daley appears cool and calm ahead of the contest.

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A smile broke out across his face when he was asked how the fight would play out when the pair finally meet inside the Bellator cage. "It's what I've been saying for all my fights, but it's what I do. LONDON – British welterweight star Michael Page admitted that he's facing a mental battle with himself ahead of his long-awaited clash with fellow countryman Paul Daley at Bellator 216. After what feels like an interminable wait to see the two warring welterweights finally face off inside the Bellator cage, their Wednesday press conference meeting at Viacom's U.K. headquarters produced all the tension you would have expected from two athletes whose simmering rivalry has been held on the back burner for months. For a man who always projects such a confident persona heading into his fights, Page clearly is conflicted and said his preparation has been unlike any other he had undertaken as he copes with the grief of losing his father, while still pushing himself to the limit ahead of a huge headlining bout.

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Page's clash with Daley (40-16-2 MMA, 6-3 Bellator MMA) in Uncasville, Conn., pits two of the most spectacular MMA strikers to come out of the U.K. And while he concedes that Daley will head into the contest with a significant experience advantage over him, Page said that dynamic is nothing new. "A lot of the guys that I've fought have all had a lot more experience than myself, and even with the Cyborg (fight) everyone was like: 'Oh, this is going to be your first test,' and then what happened happened? Page feels that, in some ways, he's on a hiding to nothing, and says he knows what the reaction will be from those who refuse to buy into his in-cage abilities. "I feel the same thing is going happen this time, you know?" Page said. Daley, and while Page admits he's disappointed the all-British showdown isn't happening on home soil, he says he plans on claiming a double win by defeating Daley and moving one step closer to Bellator welterweight grand prix glory.

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"I would have loved to have had this fight away from the tournament, and the only reason I'm saying that is because then we could have had it over here," Page said. Of course, it wasn't hard to anticipate the impending drama with "Venom" Page placing a box of tampons on the dais in reference to his pet name for Daley: "Paula." And sure enough, it didn't take long for the welterweights to get going. Daley (40-16-2 MMA, 6-3 BMMA), who earlier vowed to treat Page (13-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) like a child when they met at Bellator 216, first took issue with the "Friends2Foes" hashtag used to market the fight. "He's a dickhead," said Page, summing up his feelings about Daley. Daley, meanwhile, vowed to make his opponent pay for all the things he's said in the two years since they started circling each other.

"I know there's a lot of people in this room that really believe in the illusion," Daley said. It's supposed to be about you, bro," Page said. MVP finally gets to settle his rivalry with Daley in the cage (Picture: Bellator) Michael 'Venom' Page believes Paul Daley will have no other choice but to retire after their grudge match at Bellator 216. Page and Daley came face-to-face in London on Wednesday ahead of their much-anticipated fight, but the press conference had to be cut short as tensions rose. Daley has competed in almost 60 MMA fights (Picture: AP) While Daley is by far the more experienced fighter with 58 professional bouts, Page insists his rival has not changed down the years. Page is confident he can outclass Daley, but thinks he cannot switch off against his opponent – even after the fight is finished. Page expects to maul Daley (Picture: Bellator)

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