Aaron Pico returns from shoulder injury vs. Otto Rodrigues at Bellator 295
Aaron Pico is set to resume his career after shoulder surgery when he competes at Bellator 295 in April.
Pico will welcome promotional newcomer Otto Rodrigues to the Bellator cage in a main card featherweight bout at the April 22 event, which takes place at Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu. The main card airs on Showtime following prelims on MMA Junkie.
MMA Junkie verified the booking between Pico (10-4 MMA, 10-4 BMMA) and Rodrigues (13-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) with a person close to the situation. The person requested anonymity because the organization has yet to make an official announcement.
Pico, 26, will return to action after he suffered a separated shoulder in an injury TKO loss to Jeremy Kennedy at Bellator 286 in October. He was forced to undergo surgery to repair the damage, and told MMA Junkie in February he is determined to hold the 145-pound belt this year, and viewed his next fight as the start of that push.
“I’d like to be a world champion at the end of 2023,” Pico said. “I feel I’m ready, I have a new shoulder, I’m just knocking on the door to be a champion, and I think when it’s all said and done in this year, I’ll have the Bellator belt wrapped around my waist.”
Rodrigues, 34, hasn’t competed since July 2021, and before that hadn’t fought since April 2017 due to multiple canceled matchups and other circumstances. The Brazilian has fought the majority of his career under the Jungle Fights, Shooto and LFA banners, earning all six of his career stoppage wins by submission.
Cleared after shoulder surgery, Aaron Pico believes this is the year he'll be Bellator champion
Jeremy Kennedy recalls fighting Aaron Pico amid shoulder injury at Bellator 286
The latest Bellator 295 lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET)
Raufeon Stots vs. Patchy Mix – for interim bantamweight title
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Kana Watanabe
Ray Borg vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Aaron Pico vs. Otto Rodrigues
PRELIMINARY CARD (MMA Junkie, 7 p.m. ET)
opponent TBA vs. Davion Franklin
Charlie Leary vs. Yancy Medeiros
Aalon Cruz vs. Bobby King
Weber Almeida vs. Keoni Diggs
Adli Edwards vs. Kai Kamaka
Veta Arteaga vs. Sumiko Inaba