When wrestling standout Aaron Pico made his mixed martial arts debut at Bellator 180, all eyes were on the blue chip prospect.
A mere 24-seconds later, Pico was submitted at the hands of underdog, Zach Freeman. Questions began to circulate as to whether Bellator and the MMA community had expected too much from the Pico. He had no prior MMA experience and had moved up to 155-pounds yet, made a name for himself in wrestling at 145-pounds.
Pico would bounce back with a likely contender for 2017 knockout of the year as he put Justin Linn away in the first round at Bellator 183 in September.
The California native, Pico, will now look to earn a second pro MMA win in the Bellator MMA cage when he competes at Bellator 192 at the Forum in Inglewood, California on January 20, 2018.
Pico will be taking on Bellator MMA newcomer, and Marine Corps Veteran, Shane Kruchten (12-3).
Kruchen “The War Rhino” did not compete in 2017 after undergoing surgery to repair a nagging injury. Now fully healed, Kruchten makes his organization debut with Bellator MMA.
He tells MyMMANews, “I’m willing to die…..I’ve stared death in the face and not backed down.”
Kruchten last competed at World Series of Fighting 34 on New Years Eve, December 31, 2016 when he earned a unanimous decision win over Jeremy Mahon in a “Who’s Toughest” tournament that paired military veterans off against one another to find out who truly is the best.
Bellator MMA has not yet officially announced the fight, however Kruchten’s public relations manager Amanda Earley put out the news early this morning. Kruchten then confirmed the news with MyMMANews.com.
— Amanda Earley (@aMMAndaPR) December 21, 2017
Bellator 192 was headlined by a welterweight title bout between champion Douglas Lima meeting challenger Rory MacDonald.
The opening bout of the Bellator MMA heavyweight Grand Grix is set to take place as Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson takes Chael Sonnen and will now headline the event.
Bellator 192 fight card:
Douglas Lima vs. Rory MacDonald – welterweight title bout
Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs. Chael Sonnen – 1st round Bellator HW Grand Prix
Michael Chandler vs. Goiti Yamauchi
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Henry Corrales
Khonry Gracie vs. Devon Brock
Aaron Pico vs. Shane Kruchten