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Aaron Pico had never reached a judges’ decision prior to Friday, but once he did, he was awarded a victory.
A well rounded performance turned in, Pico (8-4 MMA, 8-4 BMMA) defeated Justin Gonzales (12-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) at Bellator 271. The event took place Friday at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The main card aired on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.
Pico, 25, who has been highly touted in combat sports since his teenage years, displayed poise, control, calm, and calculation – traits that he’s admitted in the past he needed to improve on.
From the opening bell, the two men slung leather. The first punch of the fight was from Gonzales, and it set the tone. It glanced off the noggin of Pico, who took it and moved forward. In Round 1, both striking and wrestling were on display. The most damage was done by Pico, who landed a pair of violent body punches and a hook that stunned Gonzales. He also scored a takedown to close out the round.
A different tone was set in Round 2 when Pico scored a takedown in the opening minute. It took Gonzales over 90 seconds to get back to his feet. A few punches later, Gonzales was taken down again. Pico mounted Gonzales but ran out of time.
The third round saw more dominant wrestling from Pico, who controlled Gonzales on the canvas. In the final minute, Gonzales rose to his feet and went for broke. He was met by another violent Pico body punch and was unable to muster up much offense before the final buzzer sounded.
With the victory, Pico extends his unbeaten streak to five. It also includes wins over Aiden Lee, John de Jesus, Solo Hatley Jr., and Daniel Carey. Over the span of his 12-fight professional MMA career, Pico has registered six knockouts or TKOs and two submissions.
The loss for Gonzales is his first as a professional. A former LFA champion, Gonzales made his promotional debut at Bellator 260 in June when he defeated Tywan Claxton by split decision. Friday’s loss snapped a 21-fight winning streak, including amateur bouts.
Updated Bellator 271 results include:
Aaron Pico def. Justin Gonzales via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Arlene Blencowe def. Pam Sorenson via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Steve Mowry def. Rakim Cleveland via submission (Kimura) – Round 1, 3:28
Bruna Ellen def. Desiree Yanez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Roman Faraldo def. Robert Turnquest via knockout (flying knee) – Round 1, 1:17
Cody Law def. Colton Hamm via knockout (elbows) – Round 1, 4:21
Valerie Loureda def. Taylor Turner via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Waldo Cortes-Acosta def. Muhammed DeReese via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ethan Hughes def. Mahmoud Sebie TKO (punches) – Round 3, 4:05