Page finishes Melillo quickly; eyes Lima rematch

MMA news

LONDON — Michael “Venom” Page pressed on in his pursuit of a rematch with Bellator welterweight champion Douglas Lima on Saturday night, doing what he does best with a first-round, highlight reel knockout of Giovanni Melillo in the main event of Bellator London at Wembley Arena.

The often divisive Page (16-1), competing in front of — or rather performing for — a hometown crowd, made the most of the local support as he earned his second win in three months, following his first-round, flying knee KO of Ireland’s Richard Kiely in Dublin this September.

Page started the fight relaxed and light on his feet, bouncing along to chants from the crowd in his signature karate stance, and he quickly looked to press forward. The former kickboxer soon began blitzing Milello (13-5), piercing his opponent’s defense with straight right hands, but it was a shot over the top that floored the Italian less than two minutes into the contest, and neither referee Kevin MacDonald nor those in attendance needed to see anything else.

Italy’s Melillo (13-5), a late notice replacement after the withdrawal of Derek Anderson this week, had barely landed a strike of his own in his first Bellator fight before he found himself staring up at the lights in London, much to the satisfaction of the fans in the English capital. And Page, having now notched back-to-back wins to bounce back from his first ever defeat in MMA — which came in May when he was knocked out in creative fashion by Lima — has retribution on his mind.

After that win over Page in the Bellator welterweight grand prix semifinals, Lima dethroned the “Red King” Rory MacDonald in October, winning the tournament to reclaim the title he lost to MacDonald more than 18 months earlier, and “MVP” is now seeking a similar revenge against Lima.

“That’s the one person I’m going for,” Page, 32, told ESPN this week. “It just made it more exciting that he actually got the belt. It just means there are two things I’ve got to look forward to when I beat him.” Page reaffirmed that message after seeing his hand raised on Saturday, and while Lima was quick to suggest otherwise, the Londoner may well get the chance to once again share the ring with the welterweight champion sooner rather than later.

Elsewhere on the main card, a grudge match between British middleweights Mike Shipman and Fabian Edwards — brother of UFC welterweight Leon Edwards — ended with the latter winning a split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27). The pair, who have been feuding for years, almost came to blows at weigh-ins on Friday, and members of Shipman’s team jumped the barriers at Wembley Arena in protest after the judges’ scorecards were announced.

The result saw the undefeated Edwards move to 9-0, while it marked a second consecutive defeat for Shipman (13-3), who lost to Costello van Steenis by TKO in his last bout — also in London.

Earlier in the evening, former two-weight Cage Warriors champion Soren Bak (14-1) defeated former two-weight BAMMA titleholder Terry Brazier (11-3) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in a lightweight bout.

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