The fighter formerly known as Jack Swagger went 2-0 as a mixed martial artist on Saturday night, besting T.J. Jones at Bellator 221.
A straightforward shellacking saw Jake Hager take Jones down within the first minute. He worked his way to a more advantageous position, then tapped his opponent out with an arm-triangle choke at 2:36 in the first round.
This was the same way Hager defeated his first MMA opponent, J.W. Kiser, on 26 January. Unfortunately, this latest triumph was marred in controversy, as the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion failed to let the choke go even after Jones had tapped out, forcing referee Mike Beltran to pull the victor off of his felled foe.
Then came a bizarre post-fight interview in which Hager claimed he was "rock hard with emotion":-
The whole package was one of the most pro-wrestling things that Bellator has done in 2019, and it fits with their overall presentation, though the jeers Hager received for the way the fight ended were very, very real.
Before the fight, Hager claimed he was aiming to fight for Bellator's Heavyweight Title in 2020. It'll be interesting to see how his career progresses given his amateur wrestling pedigree.
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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A fan since 1992, still geeking out for everything from WeeLC to mid '80s Jim Crockett Promotions. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.