Michael Page takes blame for Bellator 281 loss: ‘I need to be better at not being held down’

Michael Page is taking his Bellator 281 main event loss to Logan Storley as a critical part of his growth process as an MMA fighter.

Page (20-2 MMA, 16-2 BMMA) came out on the wrong end of a split decision against Storley (14-1 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) in Friday’s interim welterweight title headliner in London. It was a razor-thin fight where “MVP” was forced into defensive grappling positions between rare opportunities to get off his dangerous striking.

Page can’t dispute that Storley inflicted minimal damage and barely threatened with submissions. However, the Brit said he takes responsibility for not finding a way to lead the dance and get the win.

“I always like to put as much things that’s happened on myself,” Page told MMA Junkie on Sunday. “For me, I need to be better at not being held down. There’s a few things I feel I could’ve done in retrospect better, a few decisions I could’ve made and I could’ve guaranteed me the win. But at the same time, it’s also weirdly exciting for me because it’s like, all I have to do is fix one thing in my game and I become the most dangerous person in MMA. That’s how I see it. People do not want to get back in front of me while I’m doing what I do. So it’s kind of exciting. I’m ready to get straight back to work.”

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Over the course of five rounds, Storley managed to secure eight of his 16 takedown attempts, according to Bellator-tracked stats. Additionally, Page landed 104 total strikes as opposed to 72 from Storley.

After the event, Bellator president Scott Coker said he disagreed with the decision and scored the fight for Page. Moreover, he chastised Storley’s grappling-heavy approach as “not MMA.”

Page was not willing to be so harsh on Storley. He understands this is the type of opponent that exists in this sport, and he’s learned to accept it. That doesn’t mean Page wouldn’t make changes to how fights are scored if he how the power, but under the current unified rules, it’s the reality.

“I understand (Coker’s) view, but I’m also in a game where grappling is a big thing, wrestling is a big thing,” Page said. “It’s difficult for me to then turn around and be annoyed by grappling. I think the wrestling element of things should be a tool to create more damage and try to win a fight, not be something that allows you to survive a fight. I definitely don’t feel you should win that way, but at the same time, it is part of the game.

“I do think there’s too many grey areas in the sport, which is why one referee can see something so different from another referee watching exactly the same thing. It’s definitely something I think the sport in general needs to fix, as far as what is more important during a fight. But I definitely came to win, and I do believe he kind of came to survive. I understand why people feel the way they feel.”

Although the Bellator 281 main event will not land on any Fight of the Year lists, Page said it’s not an experience he wants to forget and move on from. He fell short of a Bellator title for the second time, and that doesn’t sit well with him. It was only his second loss in MMA competition, too, and just like when he was beaten by Douglas Lima, it’s a defeat he wants to avenge down the line.

“I’m a very petty person,” Page said. “He’s won, but in not in any kind of spectacular fashion. I’ve legit had harder spars. The reason I say it that way, is because physically I don’t have a bruise, I don’t have a sore, I don’t have an ache. Anything. It doesn’t even feel like I’ve had a five-round fight. That’s probably the most frustrating thing about it, is losing in way where, I know for a fact I could go into a fight this weekend and feel fine and be good to go. I know he couldn’t say the same. It’s weird that he’s won the fight. … I want to get it back, so I’m going to be pushing, working, putting on more fights until I’m able to get back to that position.”

Page said he intends to go back to training as soon as possible to shore up the holes in his game. He thinks he’s on the cusp of a turning point that would elevate his game to another level, and said that should be concerning to every 170-pound fighter on the planet.

“The quicker I get to that level where I’m able to nullify them trying to nullify me, the more problematic I’ll be,” Page said. “Then I can be ‘MVP’ the majority of the fight, and that is a problem for every person. I don’t care what organization. Any person that is in front of me at my weight, I’m destroying them.

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