By: Jackie Campbell
With CES 45 fast approaching, Gary “Batman” Balletto Jr. (3-1) of Tri-Force MMA and Nick Alley (3-1) of Team Link, are set to share the cage as they look to make their mark on the welterweight rankings. Just a week out from the action, CES 45 will take place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI on Friday, August 11th and will be live on AXS TV.
Prepared for his television debut, Balletto feels that he has earned his slot through a series of impressive performances within the CES Welterweight Division. Alley is no stranger to the big lights and is hungrier than ever, after coming off his first loss earlier this year in his Bellator debut.
At CES 42, Balletto pulled off an impressive submission finish just 1:20 inside the first round, displaying a dangerous ground game to compliment his professional-level boxing. Alley will serve as an exciting matchup with a slick jiu-jitsu game, proven in his last win by pulling off a triangle choke just seconds left in the round. Fans can expect to see an explosive match of power and skill in all areas of the fight.
“Nick is a great matchup for me because we both have a drive and passion for this sport,” says Balletto. “We are both 3-1 with 3 finishes and we are both so well-rounded. I know my opponent is a competitive fighter in the welterweight division and that he is ready to bring it!”
Balletto says that his television debut is serving as a positive factor when preparing for the fight. “It makes things exciting and fresh,” explains Balletto. “It doesn't change anything for me mentally or physically in training. I’m always working as hard as I can to improve and get better each day.”
The Balletto name has become legendary within the New England combat sports community, as Gary “Tiger” Balletto Sr. amassed an incredible career in the late 1990s on the national stage of boxing. Balletto Jr. has become a product of his father’s talent and dedication, carving out his own path in the sport of MMA.
As a regional icon, Balletto holds himself to a higher standard in the sport of MMA. While contributing to a legacy, Balletto knows his value to the Rhode Island combat sports circuit.
“I am always focused, not just during training camps. I envision every single day where I want to be and why I do what I do. It is what drives me to constantly learn and get closer to my full potential,” says Balletto.
“Most boys idolize their dad growing up. It’s the first man you look up to. Seeing my dad as a warrior in the ring set a clear example for me,” Balletto explains. “I was introduced to the art of boxing as a baby and grew up learning a family trade that is different from most.”
Looking ahead to his upcoming bout, Balletto put it bluntly: “CES has proven to be a real deal organization in the MMA world. The welterweight division is a very competitive and dangerous weight class,” says Balletto. “Fighters can move like lightweights and often punch like heavyweights! I think I embody that statement.”
Balletto is poised and ready to take on Alley in yet another stacked CES event.