[Ed. Note: Bellator 248 and Bellator Euro Series 10 combine to form a single day of fights on Saturday, but we have decided to dedicate separate previews to each. Please enjoy the Bellator 248 preview below. You can find the preview for Bellator Euro Series 10, with a look at Cheick Kongo’s rematch with Tim Johnson, here.]
Once establishing himself as a human highlight reel with a right-hand, chin-music knockout of veteran Rudy Bears in 65 seconds of work and a destructive flying-knee finish of Evangelista Santos while also adding a unanimous-decision win over Paul Daley at Bellator 216, Michael “Venom” Page suffered a loss of epic proportions at the hands of current welterweight champion and middleweight title challenger Douglas Lima on a somber night in June 2019.
With the stage being set as one of two semifinals in Bellator’s welterweight World Grand Prix tournament, Lima sent shockwaves in the MMA world following a leg kick with a booming right uppercut to knock Page unconscious before he hit the canvas. This was the first loss of Page’s professional career. He had gone 14-0 prior to the bout with Lima since his 2012 humble beginning in UCMMA. The 33-year-old Englishman put the loss in the rearview mirror, though, and flipped the page to begin a new chapter. His current three-fight winning streak was built while having spent just a combined five minutes in the cage. Now, at Bellator 248, Page will attempt to score another one of his signature finishes in the headlining bout of the evening.
The man squaring up on the other side of the cage against Page is Ross Houston, an undefeated fighter through eight pro bouts who will be making his promotional debut after spending a majority of his time in England with the Cage Warriors organization.
The lineup also includes former UFC featherweight competitor Mads Burnell, who takes on Darko “Face Smasher” Banovic.
Bellator 248 takes place on Saturday, October 10, at the Accor Arena in Paris, France. The four-fight card, which begins at 11:30 a.m. ET, airs live on the CBS Sports Network.
Cage Warriors veteran Ross Houston makes his Bellator debut against Michael Page in a headlining affair. How will Houston perform against MVP?
Houston is fresh off one of the most bizarre fights in MMA history, as an unwelcome Jackson Pollock painting entered the fray during his Cage Warriors welterweight title fight against Nicolas Dalby in 2019. Dalby, who is now on the UFC roster with fights against Alex Olivera and Jesse Ronson, sustained a gash on his forehead from an elbow in the first round that would continue to bleed profusely throughout the bout. The favor was returned by the then interim champion, who landed a strike that broke Houston’s nose. The amount of blood spilled between the two men was so insurmountable that referee Marc Goddard deemed the bout a no-contest midway through the third round.
If Houston wants to keep his perfect record intact, the Scottish “Hitman” is going to need to look for a finish and be aggressive as soon as the action commences. However, considering five of his eight wins came by decision and he’s going up against the unicorn that is Page’s fight style, how effectively this plan can be executed remains to be seen.
One may think that Page’s weak point would be his lowered hands while sporting a stance where his feet are parallel to his body, but no one has ever exposed and capitalized on this aside from Lima. Bum rushes, implemented by Shinsho Anzai at Bellator 237 in Japan against MVP last year, were rendered useless because of the Englishman’s footwork and speed comparable to that of DC Comics hero “The Flash.”
Instead of keeping the fight on the feet like Page prefers, Houston should try to wear his opponent down with takedowns and pins. While he isn’t the sharpest grappler and doing so may not eliminate Page’s power, it could slow MVP down. Page is as unorthodox as unorthodox fighters come, so Houston will need to pull out an element of surprise of his own.
Three other contests round out this four-fight card. Which non-headlining fighter will impress the most on Saturday?
The surefire pick to impress the most is Ryan Scope in his upcoming fight with Alan Omer, who has 23 wins through 28 pro fights. Scope is still searching for his first victory in Bellator in his third bout with the promotion after dropping consecutive bouts against Patricky “Pitbull” Freire and Peter Quealy in 2019. Despite not being the victor on those two occasions, this doesn’t mean that he didn’t have success against his Bellator opponents. Before being wilted away by Quealy’s unanswered punching clinic in the second round, Scope added a kick at the end of his punch combination that landed in the middle frame to drop the 31-year-old SGB Ireland product and was mere seconds away earning a come-from-behind stoppage win.
The 28-year-old lightweight’s effort in the aforementioned fight with Pitbull, which Scope lost by split decision, drew him the respect of matchmakers. They afforded him a chance to fight Derek Campos in the co-main event of Bellator Birmingham in 2019. Scope, however, would not be able to fight as scheduled following an injury that axed the bout. Now that he is healthy after getting injured twice before scheduled fights in Bellator, winning is only a matter of when not if.
Main Card (CBS Sports Network, 11:30 a.m. ET)
WW: Michael Page vs. Ross Houston
WW: Oliver Enkamp vs. Emmanuel Dawa
Catchweight (160 pounds): Ryan Scope vs. Alan Omer
FW: Mads Burnell vs. Darko Banovic
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