ATLANTIC CITY — Atlantic City mixed martial arts fighter Cesar Balmaceda suffered a devastating loss Friday night.
Balmaceda (6-2) was knocked unconscious in a first-round defeat against Brazilian Nikolas Motta in the main event of Cage Fury Fighting Championships 77 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
Medical personnel attached an oxygen mask and carried Balmaceda out of the cage on a stretcher. He was taken to nearby AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Campus, for testing.
“But after consulting with the physicians, I feel positive about Cesar’s prognosis. He was moving his arms and legs when he was taken out of the arena.”
According to CFFC President Rob Haydak, Balmaceda was released from the hospital early Saturday. Balmaceda could not be reached for comment.
“It was a scary situation at first,” said Deputy Attorney General Nick Lembo, who supervised the event for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board.
In accordance with Control Board policy, Balmaceda is prevented from resuming training for at least 60 days after suffering a knockout. He is also suspended indefinitely pending a CT scan of the head and neck, and a neurological exam.
Balmaceda, 25, was back in action in a three-round catch-weight bout at 160 pounds after suffering his first career loss, a first-round submission against Sidney Outlaw, on May 17 at Hard Rock.
On Friday, Motta (10-3), who now fights out of Toms River, knocked Balmaceda off-balance with a right roundhouse kick, then connected with a left hook that dropped him to the canvas. With Balmaceda lying against the cage, Motta charged forward and landed two more right hands before referee Liam Kerrigan jumped in and stopped the bout at the 54-second mark.
“He was a hard opponent,” Motta said. “Everybody knows he’s one of the biggest prospects in New Jersey and the United States. I came here to show I want that (CFFC lightweight) title, and that my place is in the UFC. These hands will give me the title.”
In the co-main event, Staten Island, New York, flyweight Santo Curatolo (3-0) needed just 45 seconds to gain a first-round TKO over Elgun Khanoglianli (2-1) of Azerbaijan.
Middletown bantamweight Paul Capaldo (3-0) opened the main card with a three-round, unanimous decision over Lashawn Alcocks (7-9-1) of Queens, New York. Cleveland’s Solomon Renfro (5-0) took a three-round, split decision over Philadelphia’s Eugene Aubry (3-1) in a 165-pound catch-weight fight. Toms River’s Shawn Teed (5-2-1) and Miami’s Marino Eatman (5-2-1) fought to a draw in a 280-pound catch-weight fight. Philadelphia heavyweight Chris Daukaus (8-3) netted a first-round TKO over Washington Township’s Daniel Holmes (1-1).
In other bouts, bantamweight James Gonzalez (5-3), of East Patchogue, New York, earned a first-round TKO over Giorgi Kudukhashvili (4-3) from Long Island, New York, due to a laceration over Kudukhasvili’s right eye. Saddle Brook featherweight Mike Gonzalez (2-2) earned a first-round TKO over Philadelphia’s Bobby Malcolm (0-2).
Brooklyn, New York, lightweight Nazim Sadykhov (2-1) won via first-round TKO over Trent Stump (5-3) of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Brick Township featherweight Nate Fultz won his pro debut with a first-round submission (arm bar) over Jacob Dorman (1-3) of Paducah, Kentucky. Long Branch bantamweight Justin Clarke (3-0) took a three-round, unanimous decision over Bryant Bullock (2-1) of Tarboro, North Carolina.
Note: CFFC ring announcer David Sarnoff, a Vineland High School graduate who is a chiropractor in Egg Harbor Township, has a small part in the new movie “Above the Shadows,” which stars Megan Fox. The movie used Cage Fury’s cage arena to film some MMA sequences in 2017. Sarnoff plays the ring announcer for the fight.