43-year-old former professional wrestler Dave Bautista made his pro MMA debut a successful one against journeyman Vince Lucero (22-23-1) in the main event of the CES MMA: Real Pain event in Providence, R.I. over the weekend. With the victory, the ex-WWE champion has decided that his MMA career will continue after scoring a 1st round TKO victory.
The muscular Bautista looked shaky in the early going as he ate some knuckle sandwiches from the husky Lucero. Right from the opening bell, Lucero pressed Bautista against the cage and nailed him with heavy punches. Bautista weathered the early storm but it appeared that the two months that he spent training at Gracie Tampa, with fighters including Stephan Bonnar, was all for naught. However, the former professional wrestler shook the early cage jitters and composed himself for the second half of the round.
A double-leg takedown by Bautista brought the fight into his realm as he quickly mounted the 300-pounder and rained down punches from the rear-mount position for a minute until referee Dan Miragliotta called a halt to the fight at the 4:05 mark.
“I think my nevers got the best of me a little bit,” Bautista told guest interviewer Joe Lauzon afterwards. “He hits like a f*cking horse. He rocked me and I felt my legs coming out from under me.” But with the victory under his belt, Bautista says that he’s ready for more.
“I want to fight again for sure,” he said when Lauzon inquired about what is next. “I think it was a matter of getting the first fight out of the way. I was so nervous and had so many butterflies (but) I know I’m better than what I showed tonight.”