Bellator MMA

The wrestling of Aaron Pico was causing enough of a problem for John de Jesus at Bellator 252 that Pico likely could have cruised to a decision through takedowns and ground and pound. Instead, Pico closed the show with a massive right hand on the feet before following up with strikes on the ground to score a TKO victory in the second round of his featured preliminary bout

Pico and de Jesus entered the bout with a bit of bad blood after Pico said de Jesus had been "mad dogging" him in the lobby before the fight. After a first round that was largely spent with Pico on top dropping heavy punches and elbows and cutting de Jesus, the two men began to jaw at each other as they walked back to their corners.

In the second round, Pico worked the takedown game again, but also started to connect in the stand up. Pico would eventually find a home for a huge overhand right as de Jesus tried to throw a jumping knee. The shot sent de Jesus crashing back to the canvas where Pico continued to drop punches until the referee called off the fight. Pico would have some more words for de Jesus and his corner after the victory, but his fists had already done plenty of talking.

With the win, Pico extends his current winning streak to three after dropping back-to-back fights in his lone 2019 fights. Pico entered MMA as one of the most hyped prospects in the history of the sport. He qualified for the Olympic trials in freestyle wrestling at 19 years old but transitioned to MMA after missing the Olympic team. With a boxing background to add to those wrestling skills, the sky seemed the limit.

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Pico would lose his pro MMA debut by submission in just 24 seconds. After four straight victories, he lost to Henry Corrales and Adam Borics in 2019, setting his career back significantly. The win over de Jesus ran him to a perfect 3-0 in 2020, however, which he largely credited to his decision to move to Albuquerque to train under Greg Jackson.

"When I went to Albuquerque, I was really broken, man," Pico said after his win. "They rebuilt me. I had three rude awakenings and I'm happy I lost, because now I'm with the right coaches."