CFFC 65’s Joe Solecki is more than just submissions

Joe Solecki has his hand raised at CFFC 62 on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Photo Credit: CFFC MMA/ MDphotoandink.

Joe Solecki can understand how he can be labeled as a one trick pony.

The 24-year-old is entering his fourth professional mixed martial arts bout at CFFC 65 inside the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Solecki (3-0 MMA, 3-0 CFFC) finished all three of his bouts by the same exact way, a first-round rear-naked choke.

“I never envision a specific outcome,” Solecki said. “I look for openings and then take every opportunity I can.”

The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina native showed minimal striking in his past contests, but quite frankly never needed to. In three bouts, Solecki competed five minutes and three seconds inside of the CFFC cage.

As he is three days away from his bout with fellow undefeated lightweight Cesar Balmaceda, Solecki is ok with being labeled a one-dimensional fighter.

“Ya know, every time I can get in and get out, it has been a blessing cause it allows me to get a win, progress towards my goals and get right back to work on becoming the most well rounded fighter possible,” Solecki said. “A fighter who will make his debut when the time is right.”

Like Solecki, Balmaceda (2-0 MMA, 2-0 CFFC) has made a name for himself in the 155 lbs. division, competing in both of his bouts while under the CFFC banner. The former Atlantic City High School wrestler recently finished Corey Menafra by first-round TKO at CFFC 61 on Oct. 2, 2016.

In his pro debut at CFFC 60, Balmaceda dominated Dez Morgan for all thee rounds to earn a unanimous decision on Aug. 6, 2017. Yet to have an even fight, Solecki knows Balmaceda is a dangerous fighter as well.

“I don’t think he has any significant weaknesses. He’s definitely a tough, tough fighter and a great test,” Solecki said.  “I just believe I’m going to be the smarter fighter in all of my fights and the most prepared and that’s what will allow me to find the path to the win.”

Solecki is climbing up the rankings on the regional level. In South Carolina, he is ranked as the No. 3 lightweight prospect according to Tapology.

With each win, Solecki gets closer to a CFFC title shot. After submitting Andrew Chirico at CFFC 62 December 17, 2016, Solecki called out for the belt.

Today, Solecki is not concerned with a title shot, instead he is taking one fight at a time.

“I’m honestly not getting hung up on what could happen after this fight. This is my biggest fight to date,” Solecki said. “I’m focusing on this perfect opportunity, but I want to be CFFC champion and I will continue to work towards that after Saturday night.”

There is more to Solecki than his submission game. Since the fighter is young in his career, he said it may be hard to see.

Solecki is working to be a well-rounded martial artist and a threat to his opponents in all areas of the game.

“Grappling a lot of times gives a fighter a less dangerous image because you aren’t inflicting damage on your opponent,” Solecki said. “What those same people aren’t seeing is the footwork, head movement, and timing that allowed the distance to be closed and fight to be taken to the ground in the first place. That comes from boxing and wrestling and all of the training culminating together.”

By Connor Northrup

Writing for NJ MMA New since 2011, Connor is passionate about covering local mixed martial arts. He graduated from Temple University’s School of Media and Communications with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. His love for MMA stems from his past as a high school wrestler and jiu-jitsu blue belt. Former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino coached Connor in his senior year of high school. He worked as a Rally Sports Desk report for The Philadelphia Inquirer and interned as a sports reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.