Brandon Gibson Provides Update On Aaron Pico’s Shoulder, Says He’ll Be Bellator Champion In 2023
Brandon Gibson has provided a positive update on the shoulder injury that Aaron Pico suffered in the first round of his last fight.
Pico was one of the most-hyped prospects in the history of MMA even before his first fight, but his pro career got off to an inauspicious start in 2017 when he was submitted by Zach Freeman in less than 30 seconds at Bellator NYC. The 26-year-old stopped his next four opponents before suffering a pair of knockout losses in 2019, and he rebounded from those results by embarking on a six-fight win streak that he carried into his most recent bout against UFC veteran Jeremy Kennedy at Bellator 286.
A sizeable favorite heading into the matchup, things quickly took an ugly turn for Pico when his shoulder appeared to pop out of place early on in the fight with Kennedy. The 26-year-old survived the opening round and made it back to his corner, but the bout was called off after it was determined that Pico would be unable to continue.
Gibson Expects Pico To Be Bellator Champion In 2023
Gibson was in the corner at Bellator 286 and attempted to yank Pico’s shoulder back into place, but the noted striking coach recently told Ariel Helwani that his fighter should be returning to action in the near future.
“He’s even better than he was,” Gibson said on The MMA Hour. “He needed that shoulder surgery, it was a long, lingering injury. It was unfortunate how that fight with Jeremy Kennedy goes, I cannot wait to run that back. That’s something that motivates me every single day. Aaron’s shoulder is stronger than ever, it’s actually scary. I’ve been having to really tape my wrists, his left hook has been so powerful and so fast. And also while he was rehabbing that left shoulder, and he just continued to polish every bit of his game. From them mental to the physical. Aaron Pico’s gonna win a world championship in 2023 for Bellator, I have no doubt in my mind Ariel. I’m gonna have – my two students are gonna my two champions by the end of this year.”
The other “student” Gibson referred to was Jon Jones, who returned to the cage after a three-year layoff at last weekend’s UFC 285. Making his heavyweight debut against Ciryl Gane, “Bones” showed very little ring rust and needed just over two minutes to secure a guillotine choke that crowned him as the UFC’s heavyweight champion.
That event’s main card also included the UFC debut of Bo Nickal, who is arguably the sport’s hottest prospect to come along since Pico. The 27-year-old secured his fourth first-round stoppage in as many pro bouts when he submitted Jamie Pickett, but the win did result in a bit of controversy.
What do you think of Gibson’s claim that Pico will be Bellator champion by the end of the year?
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