Aaron Pico, 20, is considered a prodigy in the sport. An Olympic-caliber wrestler and Golden Gloves boxer, he has a tremendous tool set and has drawn raves from those around him. He makes his MMA debut on pay-per-view in Madison Square Garden against an 8-2 opponent, a testament to what’s hoped for from him. Zach Freeman has that nice record but hasn’t fought against a high level of competition.
Round 1. Pico moves in and eats a knee to the head as he closes distance. He then gets dropped by an uppercut. Freeman attacks the neck with a guillotine choke that he transitions to a D’Arce choke and gets the submission.
Winner: Zach Freeman, submission, round 1.
That has to be a hugely disappointing setback for Bellator. They invested big in Aaron Pico and got a tremendous amount of press for his debut. Pico will have plenty of time to still develop as a fighter, but there’s only once chance to make a first impression and that won’t help his hopes to become a superstar fighter.