Decorated Wrestling Prospect Aaron Pico to Make MMA Debut at Bellator 180

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 24, 2017


More than two years after signing with Bellator MMA, Aaron Pico has a date for his debut.

Pico, who narrowly missed qualifying for the 2016 Olympics at 143 pounds, will make his first promotional foray at Bellator 180 on June 24 at Madison Square Garden. Sherdog.com confirmed the news with a promotion official following an initial report from ESPN. Pico’s opponent and placement on the card have yet to be determined. Pico will compete at lightweight.

Bellator 180 will serve as the lead-in to Bellator NYC “Silva vs. Sonnen,” the promotion’s second pay-per-view offering. The Bellator 180 main card will be televised on Spike, with prelims streaming immediately prior on Bellator.com and the Bellator mobile app.

A high school state wrestling champion at 132 pounds, Pico elected to skip a college career to focus on international freestyle wrestling. At the U.S. Olympic team trials in 2016, Pico bested Jayson Ness, Jordan Oliver and Reece Humphrey before falling to former NCAA national champion Frank Molinaro in the 143-pound final.

In addition to wrestling, Pico has a boxing background, including a National Junior Golden Gloves title in 2009. The 20-year-old has been training at American Kickboxing Academy in preparation for his MMA career.

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