Atlantic City mixed martial arts fighter Cesar Balmaceda is finally going to get a title shot.
The 23-year-old prospect will face Cage Fury Fighting Championships lightweight champion Joe Lowry on Dec. 14 in the main event of CFFC 71 at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for over a year,” Balmaceda said Thursday. “I’ve been training hard and I’m ready to go get that title.”
Balmaceda, a 2013 Atlantic City High School graduate and former Vikings wrestler, will be trying to become the third local MMA fighter to win a regional title, joining Mays Landing featherweight Jeff Lentz and Millville middleweight Tim Williams.
Jeff Lentz is a former CFFC and Ring of Combat featherweight champion. Williams won the CFFC middleweight title before signing with the UFC earlier this year.
Balmaceda (5-0) and Lowry (8-1) are considered among the top, up-and-coming prospects in the 155-pound division. Both are viewed as potential UFC fighters.
“Sometimes these kind of fights are difficult to put together because once fighters reach a certain level and are expecting the UFC to call, they don’t want to take any risks,” CFFC owner Rob Haydak said. “That’s not the case with Cesar and Joe. Neither one of them has ever shied away from a tough challenge.”
Lowry, a 28-year-old union metal sheet worker from Clementon (Camden County), is seeking to rebound from his first professional loss. He suffered a first-round knockout (elbows) against Devonte Smith last month in Las Vegas on Dana White’s “Tuesday Night Contender” series.
He’ll be making the second defense of the CFFC belt he earned with a first-round knockout over Mike Pope during CFFC 65 at 2300 Arena on Philadelphia on May 20, 2017. He retained the title with a first-round knockout over Richard Patishnock at CFFC 68 at Borgata on Oct. 21, 2017.
Balmaceda, a UPS driver, earned the biggest win of his pro career on that 2300 Arena card. He rebounded from a slow start to take a three-round, unanimous decision over previously undfeated Joe Solecki.
He followed that up by knocking out Johnson Jajoute with a kick to the head at CFFC 66 at Borgata on Aug. 5, 2017. In his last fight, he posted a three-round, unanimous decision over formerly unbeaten Hopeton Steward at CFFC 70 last March 18 at Borgata.
Since then, he’s become engaged to longtime girlfriend Adriana Rodriguez, became a father to Cesar Balmaceda III on July 14 and bought a house in Pleasantville.
Now his focus is on becoming a champion.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m ready.”