The MMA debut for former WWE superstar Jack Swagger — now going by his real name, Jake Hager — wasn’t nearly as attention-grabbing as Brock Lesnar or CM Punk’s first forays into the octagon, but it was arguably the most dominant of the bunch. Hager had no problem submitting J.W. Kiser midway through the first round at Bellator 214 at The Forum in Los Angeles.
Hager didn’t shy away from his WWE roots Saturday night, walking out with his “We The People” gimmick on his t-shirt alongside Ron Killings, aka R-Truth, performing his entrance music.
Once Hager was inside the cage, Kiser landed a few shots to his head before the former collegiate All-American wrestler rushed his opponent against the cage and took him to the ground. Hager connected on a few elbows on the mat before locking in the head triangle and earning the submission victory.
WWE and others were quick to congratulate Hager on his big win:
After the bout, Hager announced he plans to compete much more in Bellator moving forward, fulfilling his multi-fight deal. The 36-year-old Hager previously told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he’s spent much of the last year paying the bills with professional wrestling, but expects MMA to fill that void moving forward. He spent last season wrestling in Lucha Underground, and while he hasn’t heard much about his status with the promotion for next season, he recently talked about excitement around the upcoming All Elite Wrestling promotion with Fightful.
The 41-year-old Kiser fell to 1-2 on his career with the loss.