Walker a winner in mixed martial arts debut

SUNRISE, Fla. – Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, won his professional mixed martial arts debut on Saturday at the tender age of 47, but he proved one thing: He’s a better football player than a fighter.

The one-time Dallas Cowboys star stopped a totally ineffective Greg Nagy at 2:17 of the third round on Saturday at the BankAtlantic Center on a Showtime-televised Strikeforce card.

Walker took Nagy down in each of the three rounds and tried to punish Nagy on the ground. He landed a few punches and seemed as if he were going to go for a submission at several points, but he was unable to do anything dramatic.

Walker, who has long been a martial artist, was pleased with the win and thanked Nagy for the opportunity.

“It’s kind of tough to fight an old man,” Walker said.

Nagy had no offense and spent most of the fight on his back, trying to fend off Walker, who trained at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., under the guidance of the renowned Javier Mendez.

Walker’s endurance was sensational, but he looked stiff in his standup game and didn’t have a good concept of what he was doing on the ground. According to CompuStrike, Walker landed 77 of 106 strikes overall, an amazing 73 percent. He connected on 69 of 91 on the ground. Nagy landed just seven punches.

“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Walker said.

Robbie Lawler scored one of the best knockouts in a long time after taking a beating from Melvin Manhoef for most of their fight. Manhoef was stalking Lawler, raking him with punches and hard kicks and seemed on the verge of an impressive victory.

Lawler checked a kick and as Manhoef rushed to him, Lawler ripped a straight right that landed on the temple. Manhoef went down quickly. Lawler landed a quick punch on the ground before he was pulled off and the bout was stopped at 3:33 of the first.

“This guy is a killer and he was coming after me,” Lawler said. “I knew I was going to catch him and I just didn’t want to get overextended.”

Bobby Lashley, who still is a professional wrestler, improved to 5-0 as a mixed martial artist by dominating late replacement Wes Sims. Lashley quickly took Sims down and pummeled him on the ground, forcing referee Troy Waugh to stop it at 2:06 of the first.

Sims, a former cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter,” admitted he hadn’t trained for the fight as Strikeforce struggled to find an opponent for Lashley. Sims was paunchy around the middle, while Lashley had a bodybuilder’s rugged physique.

It was no contest, as Sims accomplished nothing other than picking up a paycheck.

Kevin Iole covers boxing and mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Kevin a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Saturday, Jan 30, 2010