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Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS
Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS
Julio Arce (left) trained under Shihan Bryan Gotthoffer (right) at the Bayside Tiger Schulmann's and will compete for a UFC contract.

A talented mixed martial artist from Bayside has the chance of a lifetime coming next month where he will battle it out in the octagon for an opportunity to earn an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contract.

Julio Arce began training in mixed martial arts (MMA) 16 years ago when his mother brought him to the Tiger Schulmann’s Martial Arts location in Bayside to get him in better shape and grow his confidence since he would oftentimes be bullied for being overweight.

Over time, under the tutelage of Shihan (Master) Brian Gotthoffer, Arce grew to love the martial arts and worked his way up to earn a second-degree MMA black belt, several championships, and became a Sensei as the senior instructor at the Bayside Tiger Schulmann’s location at 215-15 Northern Blvd.

“It all started as being that little fat kid who played games, loved reading comics. I was an overweight kid…then I was brought here. From day one I got hooked on it, and here I am today,” Arce said. “It was a journey for myself. I was able to evolve from a kid into a man and just grow. I had to take my own journey to get to where I am.”

As Arce began competing in the amateur ranks, he began honing his skills in multiple martial arts disciplines.

During his amateur career Arce was the 2011 Golden Gloves Champion with a 7-0 record, a tri-state and world kickboxing champion with an 11-1 record, and a Ring of Combat Champion with a 13-0 record fighting in that organization.

When Arce turned pro in 2014, he continued his winning ways, earning in 5-0 record in kickboxing, and was the Bantam Weight (135 pound) Champion in Ring of Combat, and is currently the Featherweight (145 pound) Ring of Combat Champion with a professional MMA record of 12-2.

Now Arce has his sights set on earning a contract with the UFC.

Arce was asked to compete on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” a show that is streamed on UFC Fight pass, where the owner of the UFC, Dana White, scouts potential fighters to join his organization.

“It’s the big leagues, that’s where everybody wants to get to, that’s where I work hard to get to,” Arce said of the UFC. “Three of my teammates just made it there, and I know my time is coming soon.”

So on Aug. 8, Arce will go head-to-head against Peter Petties in the Featherweight division in Las Vegas to try to impress White and earn his way into the premier combat sports organization.

“I don’t care what happens, win, lose, knock the guy out, get knocked out, whatever, just get in there and have fun,” Gotthoffer said he has been telling Arce leading up to the big fight. “Don’t let the pressure get to you. Don’t worry about it. Nobody’s opinion is going to change. Whatever happens, he is still going to be respected and loved by everyone.”

No matter what happens in the Aug. 8 fight, Arce will still be training and teaching at the Bayside Tiger Schulmann’s.

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