File this one under “Better (I guess) late than never.”
TMZ is reporting that former WWE Champion Dave Bautista - better known by his incredibly clever stage name “Batista” – has inked a deal with Rhode Island’s CES MMA. He will be making his professional MMA debut on October 6, which will take place at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
His opponent is thirty-three year old Rashid ”Smash” Evans, who will also be making his professional MMA debut. Evans went 3-2 in amateur competition, with his most recent victory being a second round submission via strikes victory over Brett Jenkins at Barbarian Fight Club “2012″ in January.
“Smash” Evans, losing to Kyle Bilquist at last year’s New Breed Fighters XXXV. Sorry, guys, it was the only video I could find for the guy.
For those who don’t remember, Bautista has been promising to make his professional MMA debut long enough for most of us to stop caring. The 6’6, 300 pound master of the “Batista Bomb” first announced in 2010 that he had signed with Strikeforce, and almost immediately began mean-mugging in the 209 with the Cesar Gracie crew. After a claim that a fight purse had been agreed upon, and a well-timed callout from Bobby Lashley, it certainly looked like the superfight (or “superfight”) of the decade was in the making.
Unfortunately (“unfortunately”), the Zuffa buyout of Strikeforce in March 2011 squashed the whole “Bautista to Strikeforce” idea, making the aforementioned Lashley vs. Bautista superfight more likely to come about as a Taipei Death Match than a legitimate competition. ”The Animal Batista” would go on to open his own MMA gym, but most of us had assumed he was just trolling with his promises of competing in MMA.
At 43 years old, it’s probably too late for Dave Bautista to have a meaningful MMA career. He could be the next Brock Lesnar, yes – just like I could win a Pulitzer. With enough hard work and dedication to his training, the idea of him being the next Bobby Lashley is far more realistic. Fittingly, the whole Lashley vs. Bautista fight may very well come to fruition as well (three years too late, but again, better late than never). And if literally everything else fails, he could easily be the next Bob Sapp.
Give credit where credit is due, though: Sensei Seagal and Koji Oishi combined couldn’t hold a candle to this guy’s ability to punch away rubber knives while strutting around, puffing his chest out. Behold:
So, after watching both men in action, who ya got?