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INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Henry Corrales was on the verge of being knocked out by Aaron Pico, the hottest prospect in Bellator and one of the top prospects in mixed martial arts.
Seconds later, the knockout came, but it was Pico who wound up out on his back at The Forum in the co-main event Saturday of Bellator 214.
Pico dropped Corrales with a right uppercut, and when Corrales got to his feet, ripped him with a pair of left hands to the body. Corrales seemed to be in trouble, but he didn’t give up. Corrales landed a crushing roundhouse right that badly hurt Pico, then finished him with another right.
Pico was out on the logo in the center of the cage as the crowd roared and Corrales took off for the top of the cage to celebrate. Referee Jason Herzog stopped it at 1:07 of the first.
It was a spectacular win for Corrales, who has now reeled off five victories in row since a 2016 loss to Patricio “Pitbull” Freire.
It has to send Pico, the most heavily hyped prospect in Bellator history, back to the drawing board. It was his second loss in six fights over a 19-month span. He was submitted by Zach Freeman in his pro debut at Bellator 180 on June 24, 2017, in New York, after being hurt by strikes.
He quickly rebounded and won his next four bouts with strikes, including an impressive win over Leandro Higo at Bellator 206 in September.
He was throwing wide punches Saturday and left himself open, and Corrales did not miss.
He’s gotten so much attention because he’s considered an elite boxer and won a national junior Golden Gloves championship in 2009. His trainer, Freddie Roach, said he felt Pico could be a world champion if he boxed.
Pico, though, is also an elite wrestler, who finished second at 143 pounds in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
For his impressive skills, though, he’s coming up short far more often than a young prospect of his pedigree should.