Michael ‘Venom’ Page will take on Yaroslav Amosov in one of the biggest fights in British MMA history, Sportsmail can confirm.
The jewel in Bellator’s crown will bring his legion of fans to Wembley’s SSE Arena on May 13th for what he hopes will be the dethroning of ‘the best fighter in all of MMA’.
Amosov is 26-0, the longest active winning streak in the sport, and while MVP is under no illusions about the challenge that lies in wait, he is ready to attack the occasion and his opponent with his usual showmanship and killer instinct.
Michael ‘Venom’ Page (left) will fight Yaroslav Amosov (right) on May 13 this year
MVP overcame Douglas Lima (left) by split decision last year to tee up the shot at the belt
Page avenged his only career defeat to Douglas Lima last October at the same venue on a night of carnival atmosphere with VIPs scattered around the cage and even a ring-walk featuring a performance from Skepta.
He took the fight via controversial split decision and was initially talking up an immediate trilogy, only to be persuaded that Amosov was the logical choice. So what changed?
The 34-year-old exclusively told Sportsmail: ‘Basically everybody around me was telling me how stupid I am!
‘Management, family, team-mates. It doesn’t make sense, that trilogy can always still happen but progression is the title.
‘He’s still around, he can have a few fights so we’ll probably meet again anyway. So yeah, it was for the best them telling me I was an idiot and “put your ego to one side for a second”.’
Amosov, 28, was only second to the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov in terms of his MMA record, but now the UFC lightweight has retired at 29-0, the Ukrainian sits on top.
Rather than try to downplay Amosov’s achievements, Page is comfortable in assessing his opponent’s obvious threat.
‘He’s the best guy in MMA right now, that’s how I see it, the best record in MMA, the only person who has topped him was Khabib but he’s no longer in the game,’ he explained.
Ever the showman, MVP has promised the biggest fight on British soil in MMA history
‘He’s amazing on the ground, his submission wrestling, wrestling, his striking is very good. There are very few areas to expose. Sucks for me, right!
‘I have to be on point, the reason why he is 26-0 is because he is so well versed everywhere.
‘But I still don’t believe he is as well versed in the striking as I am and has never come up against anybody that can strike like me.
‘I’m definitely going to be faster and I feel like I’ll be stronger than him. It is just making it an ugly fight anywhere else, forcing him back up to his feet, it is going to be a long camp but I know I can do it. I’ve seen it in my head, I’ve seen it already. It is a case of executing it and showing the world what I’ve already seen.’
Last October, the atmosphere inside Wembley Arena was electric and Page knows the expectations will be high for another celebrity-sprinkled Friday night in London.
He continued: ‘I guarantee it will be bigger than any other fight in British MMA history in this country, you’re just going to see by the people that will be there to watch. It will be the MVPs of the VIPs!
Amosov (left) is undefeated and well-rounded, posing a massive challenge to Page
MVP is a deadly striker but knows he may have to fight off of his back at points in the contest
‘It has been better, and better, and better every single time, it’s going to get to the point where I don’t even know if I’ll be able to top it. It will be hard to top the Skepta walkout, he’s one of the best in the game.
‘I’ll have to bring out multiple people, I haven’t even started to think about that yet. Being able to access people like Skepta is just from my growth in the sport, I’m looking forward to doing something special.’
MVP has made a point in the past of downplaying the importance of a belt, preferring to take his glory and satisfaction from making himself a human highlight reel.
But he does accept the significance of a belt in terms of his legacy.
The Londoner added: ‘In terms of achievement the belt matters, I’m not denying what it says, the statement of it but at the same time I’m not doing any of this for a belt.
‘I’ve not had a belt so far and my career has been amazing, a belt isn’t going to change that but there are positives to having a belt. Being able to look back, tell people when you retire that you were a world champion, 100 per cent it will be great to do.
The Londoner is a born entertainer and is training hard in all areas for his biggest fight yet
Amosov, from Ukraine, is still young at 28 but has already achieved so much in the sport
‘I just want to be known as one of the greatest in there, one of the most entertaining, must watch TV, and that’s what I really care about. I’m enjoying the competition with myself, trying to top everything.’
So how does MVP predict his May 13th showdown with one of the best in the business will unfold?
‘If I’m envisioning the fight, I’m going in there, I’m going to play with my food and then knock him out.
‘I’m going to frustrate him into making a silly mistake, to putting his foot in the wrong place, dipping the wrong way and he will be asleep.
‘I’m not interested in making it long, people are paying tickets for my walkout. Get the KO and then go to party.’
Tickets for BELLATOR LONDON: Amosov vs. MVP will go on sale Friday, January 21, at both axs.com/uk and BELLATOR.com, with a special presale taking place starting Wednesday, January 19.