Former professional wrestler Dave Bautista competed in his first mixed martial arts fight this weekend at age 43 at CES MMA in Providence, R.I. He took a beating in the first round, but won by stoppage in the second round after his opponent gassed.
Bautista – or “Batista,” as he is more commonly known to WWE fans – was originally slated to fight a follow debuter named Rashid Evans. When Evans was unable to fight, apparently due to a training injury, Bautista was matched with 22-23 journeyman Vince Lucero.
Lucero’s experience showed early in the fight as he went after Bautista aggressively, throwing wild shots. Many of these punches landed, with Bautista looking uncomfortable attempting to defend them. His chin held up, however, allowing him to survive to the bell. During the second round, he took Lucero down with a double leg shot, eventually working to side control, then to full mount and from there to his opponent’s back. Bautista then flattened him out and finished him with a series of unanswered punches.
Bautista weighed in at 265.5 pounds for the bout while Lucero weighed in at 300 pounds. The fight was not the debut Bautista likely hoped for. He mentioned feeling first-fight jitters and said he knew he was better than he showed. However, especially considering his age, he seems unlikely to ever make a serious run up MMA’s heavyweight rankings. Nonetheless, he deserves credit for taking on such a significant challenge – let alone emerging victorious.
After the fight, Bautista and Lucero began talking trash to one another, but eventually the two men embraced and seemed to bury the hatchet.