Brits Michael ‘Venom’ Page and Linton Vassell both secured dominant first-round KO wins at Bellator 292 in San Jose, California.
Page, 35, stopped Goiti Yamauchi with a remarkable leg kick just 26 seconds into their welterweight bout.
Vassell, 39, finished fellow heavyweight Valentin Moldavksy on the floor after dropping the Russian with a right hook.
The victories put both Page and Vassell in a strong fight for the title.
Page is second in Bellator’s welterweight rankings, with only champion Yaroslav Amosov and Logan Storley above him, while Vassell is likely to overtake Moldavsky for second place behind defending champion Ryan Bader.
“MVP” returns to winning ways in style
London’s Page was looking to catch up for the interim welterweight title in May last year after losing to American Storley.
After the loss, Page wanted a quick return to the action, but with no suitable opponent available at the time, he decided to try bareknuckle boxing, where he suffered a loss to Mike Perry in August.
Page regrouped after that fight and defied have screenwriting and acting ambitions, reiterated his intention to win a world title before retiring.
Page’s unique kickboxing style has shaped a successful career that has produced 20 wins from 22 fights going into the fight with Yamauchi.
Japanese-born Brazilian Yamauchi, 30, meanwhile, entered the competition with a Bellator-record nine entries and a three-fight win streak.
The fight was over after a single punch when Page delivered a kick to Yamauchi’s right leg, causing him to fall to the canvas with an injured knee and grimacing in pain.
The referee immediately waved it off and handed Page the win, while Yamauchi acknowledged the loss with a thumbs-up and congratulated Page while medics tended to his injury.
“First and foremost I want to wish Goiti a speedy recovery. It’s hard to want to celebrate when he’s here,” Page said in the post-fight interview.
“I’m a fan of him and his work. It was a pleasure to share the cage with him.
“I work hard to be here. I’m dynamic, it looks like it’s going to come easy, but I go to the gym every day to put on a show for everyone.
“You want to see me fight Amosov?
Vassell avenges Moldavsky’s defeat
Vassell of Milton Keynes fought Moldavsky in 2019 and suffered a unanimous decision loss.
After this fight, Vassell continued a four-fight win streak to climb the heavyweight rankings and set up the rematch with Moldavsky.
The 31-year-old Russian last fought in August when a meeting with Steve Mowry ended without a contest after an accidental eye bump.
In the early stages of the first round Moldavsky used his grappling, tripping Vassell and looking for submissions which the Brit defended.
After getting back on his feet, Vassell began to assert himself and after a combination of left jab and right hook Moldavsky dropped to one knee.
Vassell mounted his opponent and after landing a heavy elbow the referee stopped the fight.
The wins see Vassell as the number one contender for Bader’s heavyweight belt as he seeks to avenge another loss and attempt to win his first MMA world title.
Vassell lost to Bader at light heavyweight in 2017.
“I had a dream that at some point I would drop it and end it with Ground and Pound and that’s what happened,” Vassell said.
“You know my ground and pound is brutal, I threw a couple of elbows and the referee stopped it.
“This is Ryan Bader [next]. He knows it, I know it, it’s gonna happen soon. [My weight] is perfect, the magic number, it shows in my five wins and four stoppages.”