Helping wash away the memory of CM Punk’s transition to MMA, Jack Swagger, real name Jake Hager, showed he has a solid foundation to build from, as he picked up a submission win in his debut at Bellator 214.
What’s a Bellator tentpole event without something of a freakshow fight? From the late Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 to Gracie vs. Shamrock: The Geriatric Years, Bellator has not shied away from, shall we say, interesting booking. On Saturday at Bellator 214, they were at it again, with the debut of the recently signed Jake Hager, better known to WWE fans as Jack Swagger.
The promotion, which has done well with Bobby Lashley (a gifted enough heavyweight with a winning record), was no doubt hoping to find another crossover success with Swagger. And like Lashley, and Brock Lesnar, Hager/Swagger came in with legit collegiate wrestling experience.
Could he use that experience to upset J.W. Kiser? Kiser was a 1-1 fighter with a number of amateur, boxing, and unsanctioned fights. A realistic test for a newcomer.
Kiser opened the action landing a right hand, but that allowed Hager to drive him into the fence and quickly get the fight down. From there, Hager worked for a kimura, but was eating shots to the head from Kiser which seemed more annoying than damaging. Adding some smashing elbows, Hager then set up an arm-triange choke, and using his impressive size and strength, forced the tap soon enough.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) January 27, 2019
After a bizarre walkout that featured WWE’s R-Truth rapping, and clips from his pro wrestling career, Hager/Swagger proved he’s got some skills. Those elbows were no joke, and he certainly has some submission ability. He’ll need cage time, but he might actually make a go of this.
“I feel like hard work pays off!” Hager said after the fight. Saying he liked it at Bellator, Hager added “I plan on this being life for the next decade. As long as you guys keep wanting to see me out here, I’m going to keep bringing it.” Then finished with one more “we, the people” shout. We’ll give him that one.
Jake Hager def. J.W. Kiser by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 1, 2:09