Aaron Pico’s second Bellator fight went much better than his first. Not only did he win at Bellator 183, but he picked up a highlight-reel knockout in the opening round.
Pico (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), who was competing on his 21st birthday at the event, knocked Justin Linn (7-4 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) out cold with a picture-perfect left hook at the 3:45 mark of Round 1, giving him the first victory of his MMA career.
The featherweight aired on Spike as part of the Bellator 183 main card, which took place Friday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Prelims streamed on MMAjunkie.
After going into his debut fight as arguably the most hyped prospect in the sport’s history, Pico stumbled badly in the form of a 24-second submission loss to Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC in June. Pico kept his head held high after the stunning defeat and bounced back with a much better performance against Linn.
After a brief standup exchange, Pico shot for a takedown on Linn and got it with ease. They stayed on the ground for a short while before Pico stood up and the action returned to the feet, and from there it got really good.
Pico stood toe-to-toe with Linn, eating some hard shots in the process. He waited for his moment to strike with the fight-ending shot, and when it arrived, he planted a mean left hook to the chin of his opponent. Linn went down in a heap, and Pico celebrated the ideal birthday moment.
“I’m really happy right now – really happy,” Pico said in his post-fight interview. “It’s a proud moment to get my first victory, something I’ll always remember on my 21st birthday.”
Up-to-the-minute Bellator 183 results include:
- Aaron Pico def. Justin Linn via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:45
- Goiti Yamauchi def. Adam Piccolotti via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:19
- Tony Johnson def. Mike Ortega via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 1:49
- Kaytlin Neil def. Brooke Mayo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Brandon Laroco def. Gaston Bolanos via technical submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:16
- Jaimelene Nievera def. Corina Herrera via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-27)
- Fernando Gonzalez def. Alex Lopez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Ricardo Vasquez def. Justin Tenedora via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:39
- J.J. Okanovich def. Luis Jauregui via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 0:42
- Daniel Gonzalez def. Anthony Castrejon via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 4:03