Bellator 295: Aaron Pico defeated James Gonzalez.
Aaron Pico defeated James Gonzalez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), at Bellator 295 on Saturday, April 22, 2023, live from the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii.
"I was not underestimating him. He is a tough guy. He isn't no scrub. Thank you for taking the fight on a week notice... The champion is going down to 135. I think it's time for me to fight for a world championship. Come on Scott Coker give me a shot. I'm not going to be a good champion. I'm going to be a great champion," said Pico.
Gonzalez was aggressive to start the fight, throwing a lot of kicks. Pico pushed Gonzalez up against the fence before the two separated. The fight moved back to the clinch against the fence with Pico landing three powerful body shots and a knee to the body. Gonzalez landed a short elbow. The moved up against the fence again with Pico unleashing more powerful body punches.
Pico landed a leg kick, pushing Gonzalez up against the fence. Pico landed a combination and then an elbow. Gonzalez charged in but was met with more powerful shots from Pico. With the fighters tied up in the clinch against the fence again, Pico unleashed more powerful body punches. Pico scored his first takedown of the fight late in the first round. Gonzalez fought his way back up but Pico attempted a head kick that was blocked by Gonzalez at the horn.
Pico came forward and walked Gonzalez down to start round two. Again, Pico backed Gonzalez up against the fence and attacked the body. Pico scored his second takedown and attempted to take the back of Gonzalez. The two fighters traded punches before Gonzalez returned to his feet.
Once back to his feet, Pico landed a violent hook. Pico again got Gonzalez to the canvas. Referee Jason Herzog had to warn Pico for punches to the back of the head as he looked for a finish. Gonzalez returned to his feet and started throwing wild punches.
Pico started the final round with an early takedown but decided to let Gonzalez back up. Gonzalez wasn't on his feet for long as he was almost immediately taken down again. Pico opted to let Gonzalez up again. Pico landed another powerful shot before scoring his third takedown of the round and letting Gonzalez up again.
Gonzalez continued to come forward but was no match for Pico who took him down for a fourth time in the final round. Pico again let Gonzalez up to his feet. Gonzalez continued to throw his share of punches and kicks but struggled to hit the target. Pico landed another violent punch before moving into the clinch, where he landed more powerful body punches.
Pico returned to the cage on Saturday night after suffering a shoulder injury in his last fight at Bellator 286. The TKO loss snapped a six-fight winning streak that saw Pico score five finishes. Despite losing his last fight, Pico was the third-ranked Bellator featherweight entering Bellator 295. The victory over Gonzalez improved Pico's career record to 11-4.
Gonzalez entered Bellator 295 on a two-fight winning streak. In his Bellator debut, Gonzalez defeated Cody Law at Bellator 282.