“All I need is one shot”

By Stephen Leonard

RICHIE Kiely is confident he can blow Bellator’s welterweight division wide open by beating one of its poster boys in Michael ‘Venom’ Page when they clash in the 3 Arena tomorrow night.

Making the switch to Bellator from BAMMA under whom he fought three times, Kiely has chalked up only one appearance for his new promotion and has already been pitched against one of the biggest names in MMA.

Richard Kiely 2 compressor

Indeed Page has amassed an impressive record of 14 wins and just one defeat,-that loss coming in his last outing when he met the unbeaten Douglas Lima back in May.

Now Kiely, who dished out a first-round stoppage to Mickael Bucher in his Bellator debut in February, is hoping he can defy the odds and inflict a second straight defeat on the British star when they lock horns in what is the co-main event on tomorrow’s bill.

“I’m going into this fight with zero pressure” Kiely told The Echo. “He’s been in there against top-class opponents like Paul Daly, Douglas Lima and ‘Cy-borg’ [Evangelista Santos] so all the pressure is on him.

“And all I need is just one shot. If I land that on anyone in this division they’re going out.

“Physically he has the advantage. He’s taller and has the longer reach, but he’s never fought anyone like me, who moves like me.

“John Kavanagh [Kiely’s coach] says there are fighters who look great in training, but when the pressure is put on them they go in on themselves.

“But he believes I’m the opposite of that. I rise to the big occasion and how’s he [Page] going to feel when a part-timer knocks him out and takes his spot.

“I think it will come down to who makes the first mistake is going out. I’m under no illusions. He’s world class and if I make that mistake it could be me.

“He’s one dimensional, but what he does one-dimensionally he’s world class at” he said.

Kiely has never been shy in calling out the top competitors in his field and securing this huge opportunity against Page has been down to his ability in the octagon and his personality outside it.

“It’s been a mad journey” said Kiely. “I’ve had only four fights and I’m going up against one of the biggest names in global MMA. If I win this fight, it’s life-changing in all aspects.

“After two fights in BAMMA I was handed a title fight and now after just one in Bellator, here I am fighting one of the biggest names in the sport and their poster boy.

“I know a lot of people are saying it’s a ‘Rocky’ story, but I really feel it’s a Tallaght story. I come from Tallaght, all my training has been done in Tallaght with Tallaght people and that’s something I’m very proud of.

“The support I get is always unbelievable. When the chips are down every-one rows in behind you.

“I know I can be a divisive person and I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but the support I’ve had has been unbelievable and it does my heart good to know that as I prepare for this fight” he added.

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