Forty-three year-old Former WWE heavyweight champion Dave Bautista (formerly known under the ring name of Batista), made his professional mixed martial arts debut Saturday night at CES MMA’s “Real Pain” in Providence, R.I. Heavyweight veteran Vince Lucero (22-23) took the fight against Bautista on just seven days notice after his original opponent Rashid Evans (0-0) pulled out.
Early on it looked as though Bautista was in over his head. His hands were down and he ate several punches from Lucero in the opening seconds of the bout. Eventually Bautista was able to score a takedown where he maintained top control. At one point he was looking for a rear-naked choke but could not secure it. In the end Bautista pounded Lucero out from back-mount 4:05 into the opening round.
Bautista commented on his performance in the post-fight interview:
“I think tmy nerves got the best of me a little bit. He hits like a f**king horse. He rocked me and I couldn’t feel my legs under me coming out, I was just so nervous. It took me a little bit to get my composure because I was just rocked. … I want to fight again for sure. It was just a matter of getting this first win out of the way. The guys will tell you I was just so nervous. I had so many butterflies coming out. I think it got the best of me a little bit. … I’m better than I showed tonight.”
Other notable names on the CES MMA “Real Pain” card included UFC vets John Howard, who scored a second round TKO over Brett Chism, and David “The Crow” Loiseau, who scored a first round TKO over Chris McNally.