Five months after suffering a devastating shoulder injury, Aaron Pico has a date for his return to active mixed martial arts (MMA) competition. Per a press release, Pico has been booked to face Otto Rodrigues at Bellator 295, which will take place inside Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii, on April 22, 2023.
Pico suffered the injury in his fight against Jeremy Kennedy at Bellator 286 early in the first round. His corner tried to pop the shoulder back into place (and came under fire for doing so) to allow him to return to action, but the fight was eventually waived off.
It was widely believed that had Pico won the fight he would’ve earned the next title shot against current 145-pound kingpin, Patricio Freire. Now, he begins his road back to title contention. As for Rodrigues, he will bring a 12-fight win streak with him to his Bellator debut. He previously competed for Shooto Brazil, Jungle Fight and Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA).
Bellator 295 will be feature the Finale of the promotion’s Bantamweight Grand Prix as interim champion, Raufeon Stots, battles Patchy Mix in the $1 million title fight. The winner will be crowned the interim champion and earn a shot at a title unification bout against Sergio Pettis.
Also on the card, Kyoji Horiguchi will welcome former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran, Ray Borg, to the promotion, while Ilima-Lei Macfarlane battles Kana Watanabe in a pivotal fight in the women’s Flyweight division.
To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.