Aaron Pico was back in action Friday, kicking off the Bellator 242 main card. The highly touted prospect’s struggles had been well documented, but he entered his featherweight bout against Solo Hatley Jr. off a win, and looking to put a second one next to it.
Hatley started working his leg kicks early in this one. He’d promised to test the “Cody Garbrandt” chin of Pico, but at least initially, he didn’t have the chance. It was Pico dropping levels for the power double-leg, landing the takedown and working the body with some heavy punches. In half-guard, he dropped some punishing elbows, while Hatley tried to strike from the bottom.
Hatley would eventually reclaim guard, but Pico was super heavy with his strikes, and transitioned to the back. The rear-naked choke went in, and Aaron Pico had his second consecutive win.
Hatley may not have been a household name, but he had a legit win over Gaston Bolanos heading into this fight. Making this the exact sort of dominant victory that Aaron Pico needed. Hopefully this time around, Bellator will give him a slow climb up, as early in his career, he appeared to jump levels far too soon.
Official Result: Aaron Pico def. Solo Hatley Jr. by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 2:10