Aaron Pico maturing, but vows ‘I’m not going to lose my killer instinct’

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — A patient Aaron Pico showed veteran poise Friday night, as he executed his game plan to perfection in a first-round victory over Solo Hatley Jr.

Pico (6-3 MMA, 6-3 BMMA) scored a quick takedown, improved his position, and maneuvered his way into a submission finish at just 2:10 in their Bellator 242 main-card opener.

It was as if he was looking to answer critics who have seen him rush into mistakes during his losses.

But make no mistake: While Pico, who has been re-learning the game at Jackson Wink MMA, wants to continue working on all aspect of his game, he hasn’t lost his love for the knockout.

“I think it’s just staying patient, because the times that I’ve gotten in trouble are when I’ve been so fixated on the knockout rather than letting the fight come to me,” Pico told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the Bellator 242 post-fight press conference. “I’m not going to lose my killer instinct to knock people out. I’m not going to lose that. I’ll never lose that.”

Rather, it’s a matter of putting all the pieces together, as he so aptly demonstrated against Hatley (8-3 MMA, 1-1 BMMA).

“It’s just a matter of timing,” Pico said. “I have to be patient, work on my wrestling, my takedowns, implement all my skills, and the knockout will come. Make no mistake, my killer instinct is always going to be there.”

The victory is Pico’s second in a row. But the 23-year old Los Angeles native has enough of a feel for this sport now to understand he can’t let it get to his head. After all, he once road a four-fight win streak, and just as it seemed he was on the verge of a major breakthrough, he suffered consecutive stoppage losses to Henry Corrales and Adam Borics.

“I’ve been on a four-fight win streak before and then I fought some very, very tough guys,” Pico said. “I just know that I, I love this sport, and I really had to pick myself out of a deep hole with all the expectations on me.

“To wake up the next morning after being knocked out for your second loss in front of millions of people, it’s very, very, Some days I didn’t want to get up, but you need to eat. There’s no sense of quitting now. There’s going to be bumps in the road. There’s going to be losses in life regardless.”

Bellator 242 took place Friday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The main card aired on Paramount following prelims on YouTube.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/aaron-pico-maturing-but-vows-im-not-going-to-lose-my-killer-instinct/

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