“Batman” Balletto submits Cannon to capture vacant CES MMA World Middleweight Title

It was nothing short of a comic book tale come to life, an absolute blockbuster.

Gary “Batman” Balletto III, a Cranston native, graced the ring of his hometown for the first time and emerged victorious, snatching the CES MMA World Middleweight Championship. Delivering a thrilling second-round submission over James Cannon, he became the undisputed star of the CES 74 main event held at the iconic Park Theater.

Rising to the Challenge

Son of the boxing legend, Gary “Tiger” Balletto, Balletto III finally claimed his first world title in his second shot at it. He brought down Cannon, who held an 8-8 record, with a swift rear-naked choke just 37 seconds into the second round of a bout set for five. This marked his eighth win and his seventh by submission, adding another feather to his already well-decorated cap.

The Caped Crusader in the Ring

Leading up to the fight, Balletto III fully embodied his Batman moniker. He sported a full Batman suit at the pre-fight presser, even arriving in a Batmobile-esque ride at the Park Theater. The weight of his city’s expectations didn’t faze him. After an initial slow-burn first round, he turned up the heat in round two, capturing the win with a burst of early pressure.

A More Focused Fighter

This victory was a redemption song for Balletto III, coming 16 months after his first title attempt in 2017. Back then, a severe cut over his eye led to a knockout defeat in his battle for the CES welterweight title against Billy Goff. Now, fighting at a comfy 185 pounds, Balletto III seems to have carved his niche among the region’s top middleweights.

Continuing the Balletto Legacy

It was a night of reminiscence as well, as 20 years ago, Balletto III’s father, the elder Balletto, captured his first major title by beating Johnny Walker for the IBU World Lightweight Championship. The legacy continues as Balletto III begins his reign as the CES MMA World Middleweight Champion while still maintaining his boxing streak. Although Saturday was his first pro MMA fight since March 2022, he fought and won two boxing matches in August and January to keep his boxing skills razor-sharp. With a 4-0 record in pro boxing and an 8-3 record in mixed martial arts, “Batman” is a rare breed who’s a force to reckon with on both platforms.

Other Highlights from the Night

  • Kris Moutinho, a featherweight from Milford, MA, delivered a knockout punch to Matheus Silva 2:25 into Round 2.
  • In the bantamweights, Brooklyn’s Adrian Haly KO’d Richie Santiago from Milford, MA, 1:35 into Round 3.
  • Tyrime Da Silva from Pawtucket, RI, wrapped up a win over Daniel Arriaga via rear-naked choke just 1:23 into Round 1 in a featherweight match.
  • Mike Antidormi, another featherweight from Oakville, CT, scored a KO against Jalen Jackson 0:45 into Round 1.
  • In the welterweights, Everet Desilets of Pawtucket, RI, delivered a KO to Bronx, NY’s Oscar Vera 1:39 into Round 2.