Batista's MMA Debut: Meet the Former WWE Star's 1st Opponent

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 15:  Batista stands in the ring during WWE Smackdown at Acer Arena on June 15, 2008 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)
Gaye Gerard/Getty Images
Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterOctober 2, 2012

Following in the footsteps of Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley, former WWE champ Batista (real name: Dave Bautista Jr.) will follow a pro wrestling career with one in MMA.

Batista is set to fight Vince Lucero on October 6 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. It will be the main event for CES MMA: Real Pain which will show on Direct TV pay-per-view.

His original opponent was to be Rashid Evans (no, not the famous one), but as TMZ.com reports, Evans was arrested for violating his probation.

Insert Mr. Lucero.

Lucero has more than 40 fights on his resume, but he is not the kind of MMA star that most WWE fans have heard of. The Arizona native is a hefty man with notable striking power.

Twelve of his 22 wins have come by way of knockout or TKO.

Recent history has not been so kind to Lucero, though. Before defeating Mike Martinez and Eric Flood earlier this year, Lucero went winless in 10 straight fights.

Here's Ron Sparks cranking on Lucero's arm in one of those losses.

Being 40 certainly attributed to his skid, a stretch where he submitted seven times. Strangely enough, he now faces a rookie who is older than he is, at 43.

Lucero will get a ton more press than he's used to as the worlds of WWE and MMA overlap.

Batista's first opponent presents both a good and bad matchup for him.

While Batista has a four-inch height advantage over Lucero, he has a significant disadvantage in experience. Even if Lucero's record is basically .500, he's seen the ups and downs of an MMA fight several times over.

Lucero, however, is winded easily, and Batista's WWE experience and the excellent shape he keeps himself in should allow him an advantage in the endurance department. Only a handful of Lucero's fights have gone the distance.

The question that will have both WWE and MMA fans curious is will Batista make an immediate impact in his new sport or will he be embarrassed by a veteran fighter?

Lucero stands to either be Batista's first victim or the man that ends The Animal's MMA career before it gets out of the starting blocks.

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