Good news, everyone! A last-minute opponent has been located for 43-year-old Dave Bautista’s real-fighting debut at CES MMA: “Real Pain” this Saturday, and no it’s not Bob Sapp. The previous two nominees would’ve also been making their pro debut, but the latest replacement is a 12-year and 45-fight veteran named Vince Lucero. Before you go thinking this is a mismatch, consider that Lucero is 40 years old himself, his record is 22-22-1, and he recently snapped a 10-fight winless streak with a pair of victories over utter cans.
In fact, when you take a good look at Lucero’s resume, it’s hard to think of him as anything but a jobber at this point. His losses include many former and current UFC fighters like Roy Nelson, Lavar Johnson, Tim Sylvia, Tim Hague, Eddie Sanchez, Christian Wellisch, and Justin Eilers, plus the likes of “Warpath” Villareal and Travis Fulton. The ninth spot on that 10-fight skid was when Bellator fed him to Season 5 semifinalist Ron Sparks, which I guess tells us something about where their heavyweight division is at. Only three of the guys Lucero’s beaten have winning records, and by far the best of those was TUF 3 runner-up Josh Haynes, whose last UFC fight was at welterweight.
So in a nutshell, despite his massive experience disadvantage, Bautista probably doesn’t belong anywhere near MMA if he can’t beat this guy.