Bellator: The Curious Case of Aaron Pico

Bellator MMA makes it’s anticipated return tomorrow night after not hosting any events since February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the fighters that will be making the walk tomorrow night is Aaron Pico (5-3). Just a few years ago, Pico was being built up as the future of MMA. Elite wrestling, combined with elite boxing and good ground skills.

Combine that with the fact that he was just 20-years old when he made his pro debut in Bellator, and you had a superstar in the making. He was looked at as a true prodigy. However, his career has not been smooth sailing.

Up and Down Bellator Career

It was massive news when Pico signed with Bellator. He didn’t start his pro career on the regional scene like most, he went right up to the second biggest promotion in MMA.

Pico made his debut at Bellator 180. With thousands of fans watching as Pico made his debut, Zach Freeman was there to spoil the party. Freeman defeated Pico in just 24 seconds of the first round.

Many were left wondering if Pico was rushed at that point. He has all the talent in the world, but he got defeated in seconds by a guy who wasn’t an elite talent.

Pico silenced the doubters by winning four consecutive fights by first round knockout. Bellator was bringing him along and giving him guys he could fine-tune his skills against.

After winning four straight, it appeared that Pico was only a fight or two away from getting a crack at the Bellator title. However, Pico was knocked out by Henry Corrales in 67 seconds after badly hurting Corrales early.

At Bellator 222, Pico returned and was handling Adam Borics before being caught with a flying knee which finished him in the second round. Pico then went on to knock out Daniel Carey at Bellator 238 back in January.

Where to go?

Pico will now make the walk tomorrow to face Chris Hatley Jr (8-2) at Bellator 242. All of the tools are there for Pico to become a massive star, but I have yet to see him really fight smart.

Again, Pico has elite wrestling, but in his fights, he seems to want to use his boxing. While his boxing is fantastic, he’s easily drawn into brawls where he gets caught.

Tomorrow night, I want to see a complete performance from Pico. I want to see him use his wrestling. I want to see him patient, and I want to see him stay calm. The moment he gets anxious, the moment the fight can turn.

I do believe that Aaron Pico can become a world champion. He’s too good and he’s just 23-years old. He definitely has some growing to do in the sport, and I hope tomorrow night is another step in the right direction for him.

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