ATLANTIC CITY — Cesar Balmaceda acted like a winner even in defeat Friday night.

The Atlantic City lightweight suffered the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts career on a first-round submission against Sidney Outlaw, of Philadelphia, during Cage Fury Fighting Championships 74 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.

After the bout, Balmaceda and Outlaw exchanged a hug in the cage. The 2013 Atlantic City High School graduate took about 15 minutes to deal with the loss in his dressing room, then walked down a hallway in the back of the arena with his trainers and congratulated Outlaw.

“It’s tough,” Balmaceda said, “but I’ll bounce back from this.”

Balmaceda (6-1) was the CFFC’s interim lightweight champion, but the 24-year-old was forced to give up the belt after weighing in above the 155-pound limit on Thursday.

He was still determined to give a championship-level performance, however, and promised a first-round knockout in the prefight video that was shown on the big screens inside Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena.

Balmaceda charged out of his corner at the start of the scheduled three-round bout and fired several punches that just missed their mark. When he also missed a spinning back kick, Outlaw (13-3), who also failed to make the weight limit, took him to the canvas.

Outlaw pinned Balmaceda against the cage and eventually worked in the rear-naked choke that prompted referee Keith Peterson to halt the fight at 2 minutes, 30 seconds of the round.

“I knew he was a tough kid, so I just said, ‘Give me a mouthpiece and let’s go,’” Outlaw, 27, said. “I’ve gone up against a lot of good strikers, so I knew what to do. I just wanted to stay patient in the first round, but the choke was there, and I took it.”