Bellator 128 Fight Breakdown: Michael Page vs. Nah-Shon Burrell

Michael-Page The co-main event of Bellator 128 is a three-round welterweight bout between Michael Page and Nah-Shon Burrell. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Page is a -425 favorite (bet $425 to win $100) while Burrell is a +320 underdog (bet $100 to win $320). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Page at -385 and Burrell at +265, and so far the betting action has been in Page’s direction. I agree with the line movement in Page’s direction, as I’m picking him to win the fight. Here’s why. Page (6-0) is one of the top prospects in Bellator’s welterweight division. He is an amazing striker — one of the most electrifying in the sport — and I believe he has star potential if he keeps improving and rounding out his game. At only 27 years of age, Page is still learning MMA after coming from a striking background, and so far the results have been impressive. In his six wins, four have come by T/KO and two have come by submission, with all of the finishes coming in the first round. As far as pure striking goes, Page has often been compared to Anderson Silva and in some ways the comparison is apt as he holds his hands down low but is still able to throw his strikes from awkward angles and land knockout blows at lightning quick speed. He is also a tall, lanky fighter with a long reach like Silva had. However, unlike Silva, Page is not a proven mixed martial artist yet. We haven’t seen his wrestling tested yet, and his BJJ game isn’t very good. His striking is wicked, though, so anytime his fights stay standing he has a chance to win by knockout, but if he’s taken down he could be in trouble. Bellator, though, has did a great job of matchmaking him by putting him against fellow strikers that will stand and bang with him, and Burrell is no different, and with such a big edge on the feet in a fight that will more than likely stay standing, it makes sense Page is the favorite. Burrell (11-4) is only 24, but has been put in a gatekeeper rule by Bellator. After going 1-2 in the UFC and struggling with his weight cuts, Burrell was released and since coming to Bellator he is 1-1 with a win over Jesus Martinez and a loss to Andrey Koreshkov. He did not look good at all against Koreshov, but to be fair to Burrell that was a very difficult matchup and it’s not fair to base his future prospects off of that performance. However, we did see in that fight that his chin is a bit questionable (something we also saw in Strikeforce when he was knocked out by Chris Spang), and going up against a vicious striker like Page, that could spell big trouble. Burrell does throw a nice volume and he has proven he can go three rounds, but he’s a limited fighter with mediocre wrestling and ground skills, and without that threat of the takedown, I don’t see how he can beat Page, because he certainly won’t beat him on the feet. I see this fight taking place on the feet in the centre of the Octagon, where Page is by far the superior striker. I don’t like how he holds his hands by his waist, and think he will be caught eventually, but I don’t think Burrell has the power to catch him and finish him, or even the reach to touch Page’s chin. Look for Page to toy around with Burrell for a few minutes before landing a brutal strike and putting his opponent out cold as he continues to move up the Bellator welterweight ladder. At -425, the line is high on Page but I believe he wins and is worthy of putting into a parlay with one or two other fighters, perhaps even into an open parlay to be matched up with a fighter on the upcoming UFC 179 card.

Written by Adam Martin.

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