As noted earlier, former WWE Superstar Dave Bautista (1-0, 1 KO) overcame a shaky start to defeat Vince Lucero (22-23) in the opening round of his professional MMA debut Saturday night at The Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, RI.
Bautista absorbed a series of blows from Lucero and appeared dazed before scoring a critical takedown late in the round and ultimately finishing the fight on the ground with a series of unanswered strikes.
"My nerves got the best of me," Bautista said. "He hits like a [expletive] horse. I didn't have my legs under me at all coming out. I needed to regain my composure after getting rocked. For a split second, I was wondering if I'd be able to gather myself. I really didn't gain my wits until we got on the ground.
"My real accomplishment came in camp because I gained the respect of my team," he continued. "I want to fight again for sure. I just had to get the first one out of the way. I'm better than I showed tonight."
Lucero, who took the fight on less than a week's notice when Bautista's original opponent fell through, came out quick, landing left and rights at will until Bautista forced him to the canvas. Once Bautista had his opponent on his stomach, he unloaded with a series of unanswered strikes to the head before referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the bout.
"I thought I had him, but he fought back, and I respect that," said Lucero. "When you've been in as many fights as I have, it's about having fun. It's too late for me to get nervous. With all of my experience, I thought it'd be enough to carry me. He's a big, strong guy, and when he gets on top of you it's hard to win."
You can watch the full fight below: