Despite losing his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut this past June in just 24 seconds, top prospect Aaron Pico will have an opportunity to regain all momentum later tonight (Sat., Sept. 23, 2017) at Bellator 183 live on Spike TV from inside SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., when he takes on Justin Linn as part of the main card.
Considering Pico possesses a ton of potential and has already shouldered massive expectations so early into his MMA career, capturing a win tonight at Bellator 183 is paramount. In order to give himself the best chance to rebound the 20-year-old has decided to pull things back in camp, fine tune his boxing, and spar with the best partners available.
“For me, I wanted to scale things back,” Pico told MMA Fighting. “Freddie Roach is my boxing coach, I spent a lot of time down there with him leading up to the fight. I was actually part of Miguel Cotto’s training camp as a sparring partner so that was really good for me.”
Few MMA fighters have the luxury of training alongside a boxing great like Cotto. Boxing is obviously just one aspect of striking, but separating himself from the rest of the pack and getting advantageous assistance may greatly impact Pico’s chances of winning his second pro bout.
“Just his approach to the whole game,” Pico said of Cotto. “He’s very professional when he comes in, he works extremely hard. Sparring with him was great. Just to see how a professional works in the boxing game, how he gets ready, I was very privileged to be in there with his training camp. He keeps a small circle, so it was a really good experience for me. It’s helped me, for sure.”
With an incredible wrestling game already in his arsenal Pico’s striking and submission defense may be the only two departments he needs to touch up before making a serious run in Bellator’s featherweight division. If he can show signs of improvement against Linn at Bellator 183 then Pico will be moving in a positive direction.
“For me, right now, my whole focus is trying to be a world champion in Bellator,” Pico said. “And that’s what I’m excited for, waking up with that goal in mind every day.”
Bellator 183 will start with “Prelims” undercard matches at 7 p.m. ET followed by the main card at 9 p.m. ET on Spike TV. MMAmania.com will deliver results and play-by-play updates for the entirety of Bellator 183’s card below.