After not fighting at all in 2020, Santa Maria native Karlos Balderas is ready for his second fight of 2021. 

Balderas, the 2016 U.S. Olympian lightweight, is slated to fight Saturday on an ESPN broadcast in Las Vegas. 

Balderas (10-1, 9 KOs) will take on Julio Cortez (15-3, 11 KOs) at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The bout will be broadcast on the ESPN App starting at 3 p.m. PT. The junior lightweight fight is scheduled to go six rounds. 

Balderas went nearly 20 months without a bout after suffering a stunning loss on Dec. 21, 2019, getting knocked out by the unheralded Juan Rene Tellez. The Santa Maria High School graduate returned to the ring on Aug. 14 of this year, scoring a TKO win over Fidel Cervantes to jump start his career. 

After suffering his only professional loss, Balderas switched up his lifestyle, training in Los Angeles with the renowned Buddy McGirt and switching promoters, joining Bob Arum's Top Rank after leaving Rick Schaefer's Ringstar Sports.

The moves appear to be paying off. Balderas dominated Cervantes in his return to the ring this past August, scoring the TKO with a flurry of sharp left hands.

This will be the first bout in Las Vegas for the Santa Maria native.

Cortez is a seven-year pro who's never been knocked out. He figures to be one of the toughest opponents Balderas has faced as a pro. He's 33 years old and a native of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Cortez's most recent bout was a unanimous decision defeat to rising prospect Albert Bell, who's unbeaten at 19-0. Cortez also suffered a unanimous decision loss to Japanese star Hiroshige Osawa (37-5-4, 21 KOs) in 2017. 

Another former U.S. Olympian, Tiger Johnson, will make his professional debut in a welterweight bout versus Antonius Grable (3-1-1, 3 KOs). Johnson recently signed a long-term promotional pact with Top Rank. Johnson, from Cleveland, Ohio, advanced to the quarterfinals of the welterweight bracket at the Tokyo Olympics before losing a decision to eventual gold medalist Roniel Iglesias (Cuba).

The bouts are on the undercard of the Pay Per View main event headlined by the welterweight fight between undefeated WBO world champion Terence “Bud” Crawford and former two-time welterweight world champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter.

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Raymond “Danger” Muratalla, a 24-year-old lightweight star from Fontana, will take on Argentina's Elias "El Macho" Araujo in an eight-round bout to kick off the PPV event. Muratalla was slated to face unbeaten prospect Steven Ortiz, who was forced to withdraw due to injury. 

The PPV telecast also includes a 12-round IBF middleweight title eliminator featuring unbeaten contenders Esquiva “La Pantera” Falcao and Patrice Volny, and a 10-round middleweight tilt between rising star Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly and former world champion Hassan N’Dam.

Balderas' bout will be broadcast on the ESPN App.

Limited tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting

Muratalla (12-0, 10 KOs), who trains with Robert Garcia in Riverside, has won seven consecutive bouts by knockout. Araujo (21-3, 8 KOs) has never been stopped as a professional, and his only two lightweight defeats have come via close decision. He was supposed to fight Joseph Adorno in Las Vegas on Nov. 5, but the bout was scrapped after Adorno missed the contract weight.

Before the PPV broadcast commences, Southern California natives Adam “BluNose” Lopez and Adan Ochoa will fight in an eight-round featherweight rematch on the undercard telecast (ESPN2 & ESPN+, 4 p.m. PT) headlined by the scheduled 10-round featherweight firefight between former world champion Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe and two-time title challenger Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz. Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs) hopes to rebound from June’s razor-thin decision loss to Dogboe, while Ochoa (12-2, 5 KOs) seeks retribution. Ochoa and Lopez fought as undefeated prospects in April 2017, and Lopez prevailed by four-round unanimous decision.