There is little that is more dangerous than a talented fighter making his debut on short notice against a popular star expected to be the heavy favorite.
Lots to lose, little to gain for the established name is the rule of thumb. Tons to gain for the newcomer. That was the case in Aaron Pico vs. Adli Edwards at Bellator 277 on Friday. Edwards had stepped up to replace Jeremy Kennedy, moving the fight to a 150lb catchweight. He was less than two weeks removed from a win at XMMA 4 earlier in the month — and very game to take on the massive prospect that was Pico.
It was a quick start between Pico and Edwards, a quick exchange, but that led to a takedown for Pico, who made a smart call in slowing the fight down. Edwards was active off his back, but Pico was able to drop elbows from the top. Edwards scrambled out, but on the feet, Pico connected with a right hand, then got things back down. Edwards again got up, only to eat a left hook, following which Pico dumped him back down.
Again, Adli Edwards got back up, but this time it was because Pico let him. Aaron Pico then fired a kick that was nearly caught. Pico pressed, ripping the body and going upstairs. Edwards covered up but fired back. Pico then took the fight back down. Up, down, it didn’t matter in the opening round as Pico dictated the fight where ever it went.
Round two found Pico on the offensive once again. He fired a combo. A kick to the body sent Edwards off-kilter. Pico moved in, but Edwards got back up. Edwards fired a head kick that was blocked. Pico went over the top with a right hand, then ripped the body with a left, and capped it off with a takedown. Edwards made it back up, working his jab and eating a leg kick. A hook to the body hurt Edwards, and Pico knew it. He moved in, landed a few more shots, but Edwards gutted it out. Cue takedown.
On the ground, Pico looked to add to the damage Edwards had taken. For his part, Edwards flipped over backwards looking to escape, and finally got back up. Pico drove him into the fence. With space Pico went up top and ripped the body hard. Each body shot landed with an audible thud. He’d land another takedown in the final minute of the second round.
Pico opened the third round firing over the top with a right hand. A moment later, a right hand rocked Edwards, and this time, the end was nigh. Edwards wound up going down and covering up; the ref opted to save him from himself. Pico looked like a well-oiled machine, Edwards gets points for being very game on very short notice.
That's all she wrote! 👀
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) April 16, 2022
Official Result: Aaron Pico def. Adli Edwards by TKO (strikes), Round 3, 0:55