Inspite of a few early vocation losses, Aaron Pico has found himself additional drawn to MMA than ever before.
Pico appears to be to develop on a highlight-reel knockout win at January’s Bellator 238 celebration when he takes on Solo Hatley Jr. on Friday at Bellator 242. The function requires spot at Mohegan Solar in Uncasville, Conn., and is headlined by a bantamweight matchup concerning Sergio Pettis and Ricky Bandejas.
In excess of the previous year, the 23-year-outdated Pico has come to be a genuine university student of the activity, regularly consuming a wide variety of MMA bouts on a daily foundation. He’s drawn inspiration observing some of the UFC’s most dominant champions earlier and current.
“I check out tape of every person,” Pico advised MMA Battling at the Bellator 242 virtual media working day. “[I watch] my opponent, Kamrau Usman, Khabib [Nurmagomedov], Valentina [Shevchenko], Amanda [Nunes], [Jose] Aldo, Petr Yan, I’m viewing all people. I observe 5 or 6 fights a day. I wake up in the early morning, enjoy two fights, go to exercise and watch additional fights.
“I actually, actually researched the recreation. After all the losses, I truly genuinely fell in love with the activity of MMA. I genuinely adore it and I’m studying a great deal. I hope to be a world champion.”
When requested about his distinct favorite, Pico explained he’s watched a whole lot of footage on Nurmagomedov and Shevchenko – but it is Usman, who just defeated Jorge Masvidal to protect the UFC welterweight title, that would seem to get the most academic viewing.
“My top-a few beloved fighters are Kamaru Usman, Khabib and Valentina,” Pico stated. “I really like people fighters and, of class, there’s a large amount of great fighters out there.
“I watch a whole lot of Kamaru Usman. I really like his model. Some men and women assume his final combat was dull, I imagined it was beautiful. He received the gain and, most importantly, he retained the belt.”
Just after dropping his professional debut to Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC in June 2017, Pico experienced four consecutive ferocious opening-round finishes of Justin Linn, Shane Krutchen, Lee Morrison and Leandro Higo.
In 2019, Pico again struggled, obtaining finished in back again-to-back fights by Henry Corrales and Adam Borics. The losses led the newbie wrestling standout to choose a deep seem within himself as a combined martial artist and a genuine college student of the sport.
Though Pico admits a title struggle is several fights absent, he can include featherweight and lightweight winner Patricio “Pitbull” Freire to the checklist of fighters he experiments and ideas on attaining a lot more expertise from.
“I imagine he’s top-3 in the earth, I actually do,” Pico stated of ‘Pitbull.’ “He’s a veteran of the sport, and when we have to struggle him, we’re likely to be pretty perfectly ready. We’ll be in the lab with all the coaches researching that male for certain. There is a purpose why he’s at where he’s at, best-three at 145 in the earth.”
On Friday night time, he requires on a self-assured and hungry Hatley Jr., who enters the struggle a winner of two straight, and 8 out of 9. “The I.R.S. Man” was signed by Bellator adhering to his break up final decision win above Gaston Balanos at Bellator 239 in February.
Hatley has experienced a good deal of things to say about his opponent, which is just great with Pico.
“I just see myself going out there and competing,” Pico stated. “I know he’s self-assured, which I truly like, but I just have to use my skills and not be concerned about it becoming a fight. It’s competitors, I have to have to be intelligent, I’ve acquired to be strategic and do what I have to do to win.
“I’m not really apprehensive way too considerably about him. I feel he’s the just one who is starstruck, ‘I’m preventing Aaron Pico. He’s not this, he’s not that.’ I’m not definitely focused on him. I’m concentrated on myself, calming my thoughts down, and competing. It appears like he’s a lot more apprehensive about me. He’s so fearful about me, but often you want to just emphasis on on your own.”