Big Hoss is returning to the cage
Former WWE World heavyweight Champion Jake Hager, better known to pro wrestling fans as Jack Swagger, will continue his fledgling MMA career at Bellator 231 on October 25 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. It is his third fight this year following a successful career as both pro wrestler in WWE and decorated amateur wrestling career at the University of Oklahoma.
After signing with Bellator last year, Hager (2-0) has been moved along very carefully by the promotion. His first two fights have come against fighters with combined records of 2-2 and have lasted a total of less than five minutes, with Hager using his wrestling background to control his overmatched foes and finishing them up both with arm triangle chokes. Many have criticized the quality of Hager’s opposition, and it’s hard to disagree with those doubters.
On paper, it looks like Hager is stepping up as he will be facing Anthony Garrett, a fighter from Kansas City, Missouri, who will be making his Bellator debut. Garrett carries a record of 4-2 into his fight with Hager with all of his fights coming out of the Kansas City based Shamrock FC promotion. In addition to being the most experienced fighter Hager has faced so far, Garrett is 6’5 and 260 pounds, making him the largest opponent Hager has faced, and he looks like an athlete, which is way more than can be said about Hager’s last two opponents, JW Kiser and TJ Jones.
But that’s where the good news about Garrett ends. All of his wins have come against less than stellar opposition and in all six of his pro fights, which are readily available, he has shown that striking defense is not his strong point. He was kayoed in seventeen-seconds in his second pro fight against a 3-6 fighter and in his last fight, he suffered one of more unique stoppage losses you will ever see. Pitted against a 6-11 fighter named Jordan Mitchell, Garrett was caught early the fight and cut badly.
While some questionable referring helped Garrett turn the fight around, the fight was stopped late in the second round when he punched himself out trying to finish Mitchell off when he physically couldn’t stand when the referee asked him to stand up so he could check his cut.
The worst thing for Garrett is that he has won most of his fights by taking his opponents down and pounding them out. The odds that Garrett could take down a Division I All American like Hager are long indeed. This is a very shrewd matchmaking at the hands of Bellator, and this should be a solid step forward in Hager’s MMA career.
But at last Garrett will look good on the poster.