Former six-time WWE champion and star standout Dave Bautista made his professional mixed martial arts debut in the headliner of this evening’s Classic Entertainment and Sports 12 event.
Vince Lucero, a grizzled veteran of more than 40 fights, took to the cage to welcome the former bodybuilder to the world of “real fighting."
The bouts early goings saw Lucero land plenty of unanswered and undefended punches to the head of Bautista, who looked to be battling a severe case of nerves. With over three minutes having ticked away from the clock, Bautista finally seemed to shake the butterflies and secured a solid double-leg takedown.
The conclusion of the bout felt imminent. Bautista controlled Lucero on the mat, took his back, nearly mounted and ended up unleashing a barrage of strikes to the sides of Lucero’s head. Vince, who picked up two victories earlier this year, had no answer as he clamored to simply avoid the strikes of Bautista.
A brief melee ensued in the wake of referee Dan Miragliotta’s intervention, although no serious extracurricular insanity unfolded beyond a few verbal insults hurled from both sides of the cage. Ultimately the two put whatever fueled the conflict to rest, as Lucero congratulated a smiling Bautista moments later.
Thank the higher powers that be we were able to avoid a WWE-esque spectacle.
Dave Bautista now sports a 1-0 record as a professional mixed martial artist. While his debut was a bit stiff, and he took some punishment, the former professional wrestler proved capable of maintaining composure and adapting in actual combat.
What’s next for the 43-year-old star (you can spot Bautista in the upcoming action flick, The Man with the Iron Fists) remains to be seen, although if we learned anything from tonight’s performance, it’s that Bautista dodged a bullet in avoiding signing with a major promotion.
Victorious or not, this is one former wrestler who doesn’t look to be quite prepared for the leap to the big leagues yet.