AEW star Jake Hager remained undefeated as a professional MMA fighter Thursday night by virtue of his win over Brandon Calton at Bellator 250, which was held at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Hager defeated Calton via split decision to improve his record in Bellator to 3-0 with one no-contest.
A back-and-forth brawl featured both fighters trading big shots. Hager pinned Calton to the cage for portions of the fight, although Calton ended the second round on a high note after landing a right hand followed by a back fist:
That was good enough to give Calton the second-round advantage after Hager appeared to win the first round.
The third round could have gone either way. Ultimately, two judges scored the three-round fight 29-28 in Hager's favor, with one giving Calton a 29-28 edge.
Thursday's fight was Hager's first since his bout against Anthony Garrett at Bellator 231 in October 2019. That fight was ruled a no-contest after Hager struck Garrett in the groin.
Hager made his MMA debut last year at Bellator 214 with a submission victory over J.W. Kiser and followed that up with another submission win over T.J. Jones at Bellator 221. Entering Thursday's contest, none of Hager's fights had lasted beyond the first round.
The 38-year-old Hager is best known for his accomplishments in pro wrestling, as he is currently part of the AEW roster.
In AEW, Hager is a member of Chris Jericho's Inner Circle along with Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz. Hager has been a dominant force with only two singles losses on his record, and he has recently been enjoying success in a tag team with Jericho.
Before joining AEW, Hager had a nine-year run on WWE's main roster under the name Jack Swagger. As Swagger, he held the World Heavyweight, ECW and United States Championships and also won the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI.
Prior to becoming a pro wrestler and MMA fighter, Hager starred at the University of Oklahoma in wrestling and football. During his college days, Hager was an All-American wrestler in the heavyweight division.
On Thursday, Hager faced a fellow former football star in Calton, who played defensive line at East Tennessee State University in the early 2000s.
Calton, 40, went 5-0 as an amateur MMA fighter before turning pro this year. He owned a 2-0 professional record entering Thursday's fight, which marked his Bellator debut.