Neiman Gracie has been calling out Michael Page for years now, and if he wins Saturday’s Bellator 274 main event clash with Logan Storley in Connecticut, Gracie may very well be the next in line for the welterweight throne against the winner of Page vs. 170-pound champion Yaroslav Amosov.
Gracie, who called out both Page and Amosov in 2020, said on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca that he expects Amosov to successfully defend his belt against “MVP” at Bellator London on May 13, but wouldn’t be shocked if the Englishmen comes out on top.
“I think Amosov wins,” Gracie said. “He’s a heavy favorite, but Michael Page can bring something up his sleeve at any moment and finish a fight against anyone in the world. He’s unpredictable, but Amosov’s game is perfect to fight Page — and my game is perfect to fight Amosov, too.
“I have no preferences [between Amosov and Page] because I’ve been asking to fight Page for many years, and this time he won’t be able to run because he’ll have the belt and will have to fight me. It doesn’t matter to me who will be on the other side [of the cage]. I have to get past this fight first, and it’s a tough one, but any one of those two that have the belt, it will be great.”
Page is 20-1 as a professional and recently avenged his sole defeat with a decision win over Douglas Lima, while Amosov holds a perfect 26-0 record which includes a split decision over Gracie’s upcoming opponent Storley.
“[Storley] is a great wrestler and always tries to take his fights to the ground, and I’ve fought some wrestlers throughout my career,” Gracie said. “I’ve fought two good wrestlers, Ed Ruth and Jon Fitch, and I like this type of fight because I have better striking than them and I’m better on the ground. I think he’ll try to take me down, but we’ll work hard and he’ll get lost. And since this is a five-round fight, I’ll work non-stop and tire him out and try to KO or submit him.
“I see everything in my mind. I see myself submitting him, I see myself knocking him out. I see so many ways to finish this fight, it’s hard to say, but I’m sure it won’t go the distance. This fight won’t last five rounds. I won’t let him lay and pray.
“Depending on how this fight goes,” Gracie added, “since [Storley] had a very tough fight with the champion, I think a great victory over him gets me the title shot next.”
Gracie lost his first attempt to win the Bellator belt when he dropped a decision to Rory MacDonald in the welterweight grand prix in 2019, and vows that he’s learned important lessons and evolved in the time since.
“It was a very tough fight, but I was able to see I’m among the best and ready to fight any one of those guys,” he said. “I gave the champion a hard fight and ended the fifth round strong, taking him down and getting the mount, and now I’m more ready than ever.
“I’ve evolved a lot as well after moving to California and training with the guys at Kings MMA and master Rafael Cordeiro. I think I have way more weapons now. And most importantly, my mind is better to fight anyone in the world. I believe more in myself against anyone today, no problem.”