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Bellator 281 Main Event Preview and Breakdown: MVP vs. Storley

After a night off on Thursday, the MMA calendar for this weekend picks right back up again the next afternoon as Bellator MMA holds its second straight card in Europe.

One week removed from a fight for the promotion’s heavyweight championship in the Bellator 280 headliner in Paris, Scott Coker‘s promotion sets up shop in the United Kingdom as London will play host to Bellator 281 and the Bellator 281 main event.

As with all Bellator cards, Bellator 281 will be seen live on the Showtime premium cable network at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT Friday afternoon, immediately following undercard action at 1 pm ET/ 10 am PT on YouTube.

Interim Welterweight Championship at Stake in Bellator 281 Main Event

Barring any postponements between now and Friday, Bellator 281 will be a 13-fight card, highlighted by a championship battle at 170 lbs.

No. 1 contender Michael “Venom” Page (20-1 MMA, 15-1 Bellator) will battle No. 4 contender Logan Storley (13-1 MMA, 8-1 Bellator) for the Bellator MMA Interim Welterweight Championship.

As with all Bellator main events, the Bellator 281 main event will be a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

Champion Amosov Withdraws from Bellator 281 Main Event Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Permanent Bellator Welterweight Championship Yaroslav Amosov (26-0 MMA, 7-0 Bellator) is currently taking a leave of absence from the promotion to fight for his home country of Ukraine during the continuing war with Russia.

Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, Amosov had been scheduled to fight Page in this week’s main event but withdrew from the card.

In March, Logan Storley was booked to fight in Amosov’s stead during the Bellator 281 main event this coming Friday.

Bellator 281 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the Bellator 281 main event on Friday, Michael Page stands as the taller man at 6-foot-3, compared to the 5-foot-8 frame of Logan Storley.

In addition, Page owns a 7 1/2-inch reach advantage (79 inches even to 71 1/2 inches) over Storley going into the headliner on Friday.

Michael Page Aiming for a Trilogy Fight vs. Douglas Lima After Bellator 281 Main Event

MVP has posted a 5-0 record in his last five MMA appearances and enters the Bellator 281 main event on Friday on a six-fight winning streak.

Most recently, he scored a split decision victory against Douglas Lima in Bellator 267 last October in a rematch of a fight from Bellator 221 in 2019.

The victory evened the all-time series between Lima and Page at 1-1, as the former took the first contest by second-round knockout.

After the fight in October, Page met with the media in London, where he advocated for a trilogy fight against Lima.

“In all honesty, I would love to run that back,” Page said. “You know how I am and I’ve spoken to all of you guys before, I’m petty. I know what I could have done. I know, and I was right there every single time. I don’t know how many times, I rocked him with the elbow. I got in a couple of right hands. I was there a few times. A few more things, then I push him right over the edge.”

Five-Round Trilogy Fight in the Offing Between MVP and Lima?

If and when Page and Lima do meet again for a trilogy fight, it’ll be a five-round affair as Scott Coker announced the week following the rematch that all Bellator headliners would be five rounds in length starting this year.

Before that happens, Page has to first get past another opponent in front of his hometown fans in the Bellator 281 main event.

Logan Storley Looks to Spoil the Night in Bellator 281 Main Event

In the other corner, Logan Storley has gone 3-2 in his last five Bellator fights and is currently on a two-bout win streak.

Last time out, he came from behind to secure a unanimous decision against Neiman Gracie in Bellator 274 back in February.

After the fight, Storley talked to John McCarthy, explaining how he found inspiration to win the contest.

“Hey, Connecticut, thank you. Thank you so much, I appreciate it,” Storley said to a cheering crowd. “That fight right there, I had to dig deep. Dig deep. That’s those farm roots, that’s Midwest: Figuring out who you were in the fourth round and coming back and I’m (expletive deleted) happy, Big John.”

Now, Storley goes into what will undoubtedly be enemy territory on Friday in the Bellator 281 main event, but can he silence the hometown crowd?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the Bellator 281 main event on Friday seems to favor Michael Page, a 5th dan black belt in kickboxing and brown sash in Lau Gar, compared to Logan Storley’s status as a former NCAA All-American on The University of Minnesota’s wrestling team.

Watch For MVP’s Vicious Punches and Knees

One aspect of Michael Page’s fight game that’s particularly evident on film is his ability to end the fight with as little as a single punch, as he did versus Shinsho Anzai in Japan in December of 2019.

During the second round of a scheduled three, with Page already having taken the first round due to a one-sided performance, he just needed 24 seconds to land a counter right to send Anzai down and out for the win.

In addition, Page was also able to score with vicious flying knees to stun and wobble Anzai throughout the fight, so look for Page to tee off on Storley with knee strikes to set up a knockout in the Bellator 281 main event.

Storley Can Throw Punches in His Own Right

In the other corner, Logan Storley can unload with punches of his own in the Bellator 281 main event, as he did versus Cody Lincoln back in 2016.

Upon repeatedly teeing off on Lincoln with strikes and using his wrestling background to take round one of a scheduled three, round two only lasted a few short seconds as Storley finished the job by unloading with a vicious right-handed punch to take Lincoln down, ending the fight with some nasty ground and pound shots to end the fight.

If Logan Storley can tee off with punches, the Bellator 281 main event is his for the taking.

Final Thoughts

At the core, the Bellator 281 main event this Friday looks as though it could be decided on the basis of which man is able to throw the first punch.

Whoever is able to land the first punch here is going to be the man who establishes control of the fight.

Prediction: Michael Page by First-Round Knockout.

Featured image credit to Bellator MMA

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