Gary Balletto, a man with tattoos, holding up his belts in front of a crowd.

Gary “Batman” Balletto becomes 2 division World Champion

Gary “Batman” Balletto III (9-3) pulled off what was called the most impressive performance of his MMA career on Friday night, submitting Pat “The Gorilla Ninja” Casey (10-8) in round one of their title bout to win the vacant CES MMA Welterweight Championship at a sold out Foxwoods Resort Casino.  

The title fight capped off a night of action that included 5 pro bouts, 5 amateur contests, and 3 grappling matchups.  

Less than a year ago, Balletto was preparing for his first world title shot.  In July 2023, the Cranston native beat James “The Loose” Cannon in his hometown for the vacant Middleweight title.  One fight later, the 29-year-old became just the third fighter in CES MMA history to win world titles in 2 weight classes. 

“I do this for all of you guys who come out to support me,” said an elated Balletto moments after the victory to his fans in the stands and those watching on TrillerTV.  “I hope I inspired you to work hard doing what you want to do.  Enjoy your life: it’s short.  Don’t waste it.  Don’t get stuck in the loop.  Be happy.”

Batman seems to be most happy competing.  Whether in the ring or the cage, Balletto approaches his fights with the patience of a master, much like Balletto’s father, Gary “Tiger” Balletto, once terrorized the lightweight division in boxing, winning the IBU world title and knocking out 26 of his 31 victims.  

In front of Balletto III on Friday was a physically strong and athletic fighter who was hungry to win his first world title.  Pat Casey, a Springfield native, came into the fight confident of victory, hoping that the fight would be a culmination of 8 years of hard work learning the intricacies of mixed martial arts.  

Balletto countered Casey’s aggression with quick strikes that not only kept his opponent at bay, but also threw off his timing.  One such strike staggered Casey early on, and a follow up attack left the 33-year-old bleeding from the bridge of his nose, impacting his eyesight.  Sensing the end was near, Balletto pounced on Casey, landing precise shots before taking the fight to the ground.  Casey looked to clear his head, but he found himself with his back to Balletto, who submitted the fighter with a rear naked choke.  

With 2 world titles in his possession and a 5-week-old daughter waiting for him at home, Balletto has a lot to smile about in 2024.  Now he just has to decide which of his world titles he’d like to defend…

In other action:

Panferov pummels Edwards in two

Yuri “The Russian Polar Bear” Panferov (7-1) returned to his winning ways in the co-feature, stopping Rocky “The Number” Edwards (12-11-1) in round 2 of their middleweight bout. Panferov, returned to the CES MMA cage after a stint on Dana White’s Contender Series, patiently stalked Edwards in round one, smiling at his opponent as he landed painful leg kicks and stinging left jabs.  

A jab in round 2 bloodied Edwards’ nose, but the California native bravely fired back despite being outgunned.  Just as it seemed as if ‘The Number’ would survive the round, Panferov launched a succession of right hands that dropped Edwards hard.  The follow-up barrage forced the referee to stop the fight with just one second remaining in round 2.     

The Black Dragon’ Sorsor soars past John Medina

Arthur “The Black Dragon” Sorsor was successful in his pro debut, stopping John Medina (0-3) with a ground and pound in a bantamweight battle at just 0:52 seconds of round one.  It was a great showing for Sorsor, who is a former kickboxer and now a Connecticut police officer.  

‘The Postmaster’ delivers a KO in one 

In a heavyweight contest, Al “The Postmaster” Morro (2-0) demolished Hassan Graham (2-2), dropping “The Bounty Hunter” with a massive right hand to drop him hard in round one.  The New Yorker’s follow up barrage caused the ref to stop the bout at 2:16 of the round.

Jackson demolishes Rutowski in one

Lightweight Saheeb “The Juice” Jackson (1-0) wasted little time in his pro debut, blitzing Anthony Rutowski (0-1) from the opening bell for a first-round stoppage.  The fighting Marine dropped Rutowski with a kick to the head, then pounced on his opponent with elbows and strikes, forcing the referee to halt the action at 0:26 of the opening stanza. 

Amateur action

In a bloody war, Brandon Reilly (1-0) outslugged Dan Esposito (1-2) over 3 rounds.  Reilly dropped Esposito in round one, bloodied his mouth in round 2, and engaged in an all-out war in round 3 with neither man giving ground.  Fantastic way to top the amateur portion of the card.  

Jordyne Lopez Tavarez won his amateur debut, winning a unanimous decision over Tommy Kempton (1-1) after 3 rounds in the middleweight division.  

In a competitive featherweight bout, Naduev Rakhman (1-1) outmaneuvered Erik Meyer (1-1) over 3 rounds for a unanimous decision win.

Brian Torres (3-0) dominated Mike Colantuoni (0-1) over 3 rounds to win a unanimous decision in their welterweight matchup.  

After losing the round one, welterweight Michael Colon (1-1) rallied to win the next stanza and stopped Christian DiVincenzo (0-1) with a kick to the body at 0:25 of the 3rd and final round. 

Top Level Pro Grappling Results
·     Yorgen DeCastro W Spencer Manovich via decision
·     Casey LaMonte W Gil Pinero via lapel choke 
·     Joseph Sansone W Johnny Faria via decision

CES MMA is a mixed martial arts promotional company based out of Providence, R.I., founded by legendary boxing promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr. It promoted the first sanctioned professional MMA event in 2010. In 2012, CES MMA promoted its first pay-per-view event featuring the professional MMA debut of former WWE superstar Dave Bautista.CES MMA has gained the reputation as being the gateway to the UFC developing the careers of UFC contenders Calvin Kattar, Rob Font, Charles Rosa, William Knight, Mike Rodriguez, Tony Gravely, Andre Soukhamthath and others.

About Foxwoods Resort Casino

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