Bellator 295: Aaron Pico Lays Beatdown on Durable James Gonzalez

Aaron Pico and James Gonzalez, Bellator 295
Aaron Pico and James Gonzalez, Bellator 295 Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA

After injuring his shoulder early in a fight with Jeremy Kennedy last year, Aaron Pico returned to action at Bellator 295 in Honolulu, Hawaii, kicking off the main card against James Gonzalez.

While Gonzalez might not be a name that jumped off the page to many, he was in the fight by virtue of his willingness to step up and fight on short notice, after multiple opponents turned Pico down, followed by Otto Rodrigues pulling out due to injury.

Gonzalez opened the action with a couple of kicks, low and high, and immediately got his hands going— clearly looking to earn the respect of the ever-dangerous Pico. As for Pico, he walked Gonzalez down, first at one side of the cage, then the other, letting his hands go as Gonzalez backed up. Pico ripped the body with some heavy shots; they moved back to center, clinched, and Gonzalez landed a decent elbow.

Back on the fence, however, Pico continued with his patented body work. Gonzalez covered up, weathered the storm, and circled out. Pico walked his opponent, who was starting to look like prey, down again, again going to the body. In the next sequence, Pico dropped for a high-crotch single, but couldn’t land the takedown. Plan A, ripping the body, had been working just fine, however, and so Pico went right back to that well.

Gonzalez, having found a moment to get his offense going, fired a couple of kicks — only for Pico to take the fight down a moment later.

Round two again found Aaron Pico in the driver’s seat. Body work, and a takedown, all in the first 90 seconds. Gonzalez found himself seated by the fence, Pico working him over. To his credit, Gonzalez worked his way up, only to eat another brutal body blow. Followed by the next takedown. Gonzalez next wound up on his knees, covering up, after a scramble, eating leather. He survived, returning to his feet once again.

In the later part of the round, Pick landed more body shots, a knee up top in the clinch, and one final takedown. Gonzalez was behind two rounds, with a 10-8 no doubt in play.

An early takedown landed by Aaron Pico in the third gave Gonzalez a chance to land an upkick, though he couldn’t connect clean. Pico would let Gonzalez back up only to take him down again. The scene that had unfolded through over two rounds could kindly be described as a bad night at the office for James Gonzalez, or more accurately, a beatdown.

At range, Pico landed an uppercut and body shot as Gonzalez closed the distance. Moments later, another Pico takedown. Gonzalez scored points for toughness, but not the sort of points that turn up on the judges’ scorecards. With half a round remaining, his only hope was a Hail Mary KO. But when he closed the distance, Pico simply changed levels and planted him on the canvas, seemingly with ease.

The final minute saw the pair clinch up along the fence, a rare slowdown in the action. Not for lack of effort, as Pico tried to get off a few shots and finally dumped Gonzalez with about 20 seconds left. Gonzalez finished the fight coming forward throwing kicks, but it was all for not. Three rounds of dominance from Aaron Pico, who was simply on another level on Saturday night.

Official Result: Aaron Pico def. James Gonzalez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)


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