Michael Page knew Kevin Holland was beaten at UFC 299 ‘after the first shot’

Michael Page knew he had Kevin Holland beaten from the very first punch.

This past Saturday, Page had a successful UFC debut, winning a unanimous decision over Holland in the featured main card fight at UFC 299. But to hear “MVP” tell it, the bout was decided long before Bruce Buffer read out the official judges’ scorecards.

“I don’t pay too much attention to what people are saying, I more noticed his persona, his behavioral patterns,” Page said on The MMA Hour. “And a lot of what he said — which probably led to him making these comments — was he’s nervous. Like, he wasn’t very confident in himself.

“They say when somebody is mimicking you, it’s a big form of flattery. Literally, when I got on stage, I looked around, I was taking the energy of the room in, jumped onto the scale, looked over, saw some guy was waving, I grabbed my hat and threw it over to him.

“Obviously, when I’ve done my bit, I’ve turned and walked off. I turn back around, and I’m seeing Kevin take off his shoes and throw it to the same person. That copying of my behavior … said to me he’s nervous. I’m in there just being myself. I raise the snake up, he’s grabbing my hand, or trying to copy me — I’m now taking you out of what you would normally do, and you’re more focused on what I’m doing. That’s nerves to me.

“I always say anytime people see me clowning around in the cage, it’s because I feel comfortable. After the first shot, I looked into his eyes, and I said, ‘This fight is mine. There’s no way you’re beating me. There’s nothing you can do right now that’s going to beat me. The reality has just kicked in.’ I always wait for that moment, but it happened as soon as I hit him. [He thought,] ‘Damn, that guy is actually fast. This guy is ridiculous.’ That’s why I was like, let me start clowning around now.”

Holland is no stranger to clowning around inside the cage. “Trailblazer” famously entered the UFC on short notice after a Contender Series snub, with UFC CEO Dana White quickly branding him “Big Mouth” for his tendency to talk during fights. But on Saturday, Holland was uncharacteristically quiet as he tried to solve the speed and style of Page, which Page said was all part of the plan.

“You can really tell he was getting frustrated in there,” Page said. “He thrives off of war. He’s a tough man, he thrives off of war. I took that away from him. I don’t get into battles. I’m a surgeon. I’m just finding exactly what I need to. I don’t get into wars. I can. For those that saw me in the bare-knuckle fight [against Mike Perry], they know it. If I need to dig my feet down and have a scrap, that’s in my locker as well, but that’s not my Plan A. That’s Plan Z.”

Now No. 13 in the UFC welterweight rankings, and with a sizable fan base already to his name, the question is what comes next for “MVP,” and how far away is a title shot? Unlike his former Bellator compatriot Michael Chandler, it does not appear Page will get one off of one fight, but “Venom” believes he’s not far off from an all-England showdown with welterweight champion Leon Edwards.

“I’d go tomorrow,” Page said. “But that’s just me. It’s down to the guys at the top. One more fight just to really wet my feet, then we can go, but it’s not my decision at all. I’m just eager to make it happen. At the same time, maybe it takes me a few fights just to build that noise so we can fill out a stadium. But I think people are watching, are already curious about that already. So let’s make it happen.”

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