LINCOLN, R.I. (March 11th, 2016) – Victories by Rhode Islanders Joe Pingitore and Gary Balletto Jr.highlighted the preliminary card of “CES MMA XXXIII” Friday at Twin River Casino.
Balletto Jr. (1-1), the son of boxing icon Gary Balletto, earned his first professional win, submitting Auburn, N.Y., pro debut Cruz Johnson (0-1) at the 2-minute, 37-second mark of the opening round in a welterweight bout while Pingitore (6-2-1, 2 KOs) avenged one of his two career losses, beating New Hampshire’s Taylor Trahan (5-6) via third-round knockout in a rematch of their 2014 bout.
Balletto Jr. looked much sharper Friday than he did in his pro debut in August, coming out as the aggressor against the overmatched Johnson. The 21-year-old welterweight backed Johnson into a corner with an effective three-punch combo and then picked up his opponent at the hip and slammed him to the canvas. Following another one-two combo with Johnson on his back, Balletto Jr. quickly locked in the heel hook, forcing an immediate submission.
Pingitore, who lost to Trahan by third-round submission the first time the two faced one another, returned the favor Friday, earning a third-round stoppage of his own at the 1:55 mark, courtesy of a flying knee to the face that busted open Trahan’s nose. With Trahan face down covering up, Pingitore unloaded with a series of unanswered strikes, forcing referee Kevin MacDonald to stop the fight.
Making his professional debut out of Norwood, Mass., featherweight Matt Tullos (1-0) earned an impressive win over fellow newcomer Shan Bachok (0-1) of Fairfield, N.J., submitting is opponent via rear naked choke at 3:46of the opening round. Tullos dominated from the start, scoring two big takedowns and softening Bachok with a series of overhand strikes before locking in the choke in the closing minutes.
Featherweight Noel Arcibal (2-1) of Wharton, N.J., kicked off the preliminary card with a dominant unanimous decision win over Cranston’s Shane DeCristoforo (1-2), 30-27, 30-27, 30-26. Arcibal dominated the striking early, keeping DeCristoforo at bay with punishing leg kicks in the opening round, and then took over on the ground over the final 10 minutes. DeCristoforo escaped several submission attempts, but couldn’t get back to his feet long enough to turn the fight around.
The four preliminary bouts preceded the “CES MMA XXXIII” main card, which began at 9 p.m. ET on AXS TV.