Boom. It was fight night for Jake Hager (aka Jack Swagger) at Bellator 221. Hager won his MMA debut and was looking for a second victory against 1-1 T.J. Jones. Let’s get right into it with the tale of the tape.
T.J. “Tombstone” Jones was undaunted by any pressure as he danced his way to the cage with some shuffling, rope mime maneuvers, and elbow jimmies.
Leave it to Mauro Ranallo to squeeze in a wrestling reference in correlation to the “Tombstone” nickname and Undertaker’s signature finish.
Jake Hager entered to, “We the people,” on the big screen and I believe the song, “Rooster” by Alice in Chains.
Once the bell rang, it was pretty much all Hager. He used a double jab to rush Jones into the fence. Jones reversed the position for a very brief moment, but Hager took him down to the mat. Hager landed some punches while working for a kimura. That eventually transitioned into an arm-triangle choke as Hager won at 2:36 of the first round.
The fight unfolded not too different to how Hager explained his strategy to Robin Black earlier in the week.
Two Minute #BREAKDOWN: @RealJackSwagger nearly Rips my Head Off! #bink #ouch— Robin Black (@robinblackmma) May 10, 2019
Jake thanks for showing me yer Submission.
Enjoy The Hostilities My Friend. #brazilianjiujitsu #wrestling@DAZN_USA @BellatorMMA @dc_mma @joerogan @50cent @WWE @garyvee @fightbobby @BrockLesnar pic.twitter.com/rVp4OM8VEZ
The fight was not without controversy. On the finish, Hager did not let go right away on his choke. That got some boos from the crowd.
In the post-fight interview, Hager explained that he was a little confused in the moment. He thought referee Mike Beltran’s hand was that of his opponent, so he continued with the squeeze waiting for the referee. The crowd was not buying that reason and rained down more boos as he thanked his family. Hager replied with, “Keep booing me. I don’t care. ... I can’t hear you. Is that all you got?” And the booing continued. Thunderously so as Hager turned heel.
Oh, Hager also said, “I’m rock hard right now with emotion. I got a foner.”
All in all, it was a good night for Jake Hager. He went in, got his win, and took no damage. He also became more of a polarizing figure. His fans will continue to cheer, and those that didn’t care before now have a reason to jeer him.
What did you think of Jake Hager’s performance in his second professional MMA fight? Was the finish bush league or just inexperience? Will you root for Hager or boo him going forward?
Update: Hager’s foner still hasn’t died down the morning after.
Still Rock Hard from last night... I hope I can get this #Foner through airport security. @bellatormma @dazn_usa— You Dont Know Jack (@RealJackSwagger) May 12, 2019
Thank you to all my sponsors for coming on this journey with me! @engageind
#mma #prowrestling pic.twitter.com/hKD79PeZrS
Get full results for Bellator 221 from Bloody Elbow (here).