It’s been a whirlwind watching perhaps the greatest prospect in mixed martial arts history Aaron Pico’s career thus far, eleven fights in.
Why is he the greatest prospect in the history of the sport?
Well, he has state championships, as well as national championships in boxing, wrestling, and pankration, a number of them. Not only that, but he’s also claimed championships in all three wrestling forms: Greco-Roman, freestyle, and folkstyle, defeating many world champions along the way, doing a lot of this work while still in high school.
Two weeks shy of the four-year anniversary of his professional debut, Pico picked up his most recent, and eighth victory earlier this year in June when he submitted Aiden Lee.
That’s been something incredibly interesting to see, the evolution of Aaron Pico.
After losing his professional debut in a matter of seconds, Pico rebounded with four-straight first round knockout victories, doing so with his boxing. He went into his next fight with that same gameplan and paid dearly for it.
Once falling short for the second time in his sixth outing, Pico changed it up and decided to wrestle 12-0 kickboxer Adam Borics. It was working out well for him, but that’s all he did, wrestle, and again, he paid a price for it, as Borics timed a beautiful flying knee on him.
After falling to 4-3, being knocked out in his last two bouts, Pico decided to join the Jackson-Wink gym and has turned up four-straight victories once again, only this time he’s been switching it up.
We saw him wrestle in the first round of his next fight, before setting up a thunderous punch with a kick feint. He then used his wrestling and got his first submission (rear naked choke) victory in his next fight against Solo Hatley Jr, before KO’ing John de Jesus late in round two of his next bout.
This was followed up with a third round submission victory over the summer, the first time he’d ever been into a third round. We’re seeing improvements, and seeing something new out of Pico in each and every one of his fights, which is exactly what we want to see.
Many people believed Pico would be in the position AJ McKee is right now, but every story is different, and with a few more wins, he’ll be right up there. But first, he must get through an undefeated 12-0 opponent in Justin Gonzales tonight.
Gonzales is coming off a victory over hot prospect Tywan Claxton in his Bellator debut, while he won the LFA featherweight championship via knockout in his fight prior to that.
Continue reading to see how this epic featherweight encounter at Bellator 271 went down:
Official Result: Aaron Pico def. Justin Gonzales via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Gonzales lands a nice right hand over the top right out of the gate, followed by a hard leg kick.
Pico then shoots on a takedown and secures it, before he gets up about 30-40 seconds later. Pico then secures another takedown, before Gonzales is back to his feet again.
Pico then puts on the pressure and starts to get his boxing going, landing a number of hard hooks to the head and body. The third shovel hook of which nearly crippled Gonzales, but he was able to recover, get taken down eventually, and make it to the end of the round.
What a first round that was!
Pico secures another takedown just ten seconds into the second and remains on top for half the round, before securing yet another one once Gonzales gets up.
However, this time he’s able to get himself into side control, before taking Gonzales’ back. He then secures mount at the end of the round, and it’s two-zip for Pico.
Pico opens up round three by forcing a tie-up with Gonzales along the fence, before landing two vicious elbows and a nice shovel hook on the break. Pico then gets Gonzales down again and reigns down some ground-and-pound.
Gonzales makes his way back up, like the warrior he is, and takes Pico’s onslaught for the remaining 45 seconds.
To be honest, it’s surprising there was just a single 10-8 scorecard. That could’ve been a universal 30-25.
Well, nonetheless, we did see something new out of Aaron Pico again tonight, as he went the distance for the first time, improving to 9-3 as a professional on a five-fight win streak in the process. What could be next for this young man, who proved what a prodigy he really is?
If you enjoyed this piece, please feel free to share it on social media!
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.