Aaron Pico vs. Henry Corrales prediction | Bellator vs. PFL 1

Arguably the biggest card in PFL history takes place this Saturday as their best take on the best Bellator has to offer. The featured bout on the prelims will be a rematch of the shocking 2019 upset victory of Henry Corrales over Aaron Pico.

Aaron Pico was originally scheduled to face PFL featherweight runner-up Gabriel Braga but Braga was called up to the main card to face Patricio Pitbull. Pico accepts the replacement fighter in Henry Corrales, likely chomping at the bit to get that loss back.

A fellow Bellator veteran, Corrales will get a chance at upsetting the former Olympic-hopeful again, this time at 155 lbs. It would truly be a historic win if he could cash as the huge underdog twice against one of Bellator’s best.

Betting odds

Even with their first matchup ending the way it did, it is not surprising to see Pico as a heavy favorite in the rematch:

  • Aaron Pico -450 (BetUS)
  • Henry Corrales +275 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

Once one of the biggest prospects in MMA, Aaron Pico has faced adversity in the early parts of his career. At 12-4 and only 27 years old, he has been getting better and better and is now back on track to being the star that Bellator and MMA fans have been waiting for. His mix of high level takedowns and explosive striking as well as an endless gas tank makes him an intriguing talent with an incredibly high ceiling.

We’ve seen Pico develop into a great boxer as well over his time in Bellator and he’s become one of the best body punchers in the sport. He’s willing to invest in the body and does it with his opponent against the cage, most often in clinch exchanges where he can rip heavy hooks to the liver. They’re powerful strikes that he’ll work over constantly over the course of the fight to drain his opponent’s gas tank and they’re more than capable of ending the fight.

On the feet, he likes to pressure and put his opponent on the backfoot. He has quick feet to back out of range before returning fire with a long jab-cross combination. He’ll use this retreating footwork to pull his opponent before ducking the oncoming strikes to shoot for a takedown as well. This keeps them guessing and hesitant when rushing in on him. His game plan is similar along that cage where he loves to land heavy strikes but will consistently mix in takedowns to make his opponent work that much harder and give them even more to worry about defensively.

While Pico’s takedown entries and timing has been impressive, he doesn’t keep his opponents on the ground for long. He struggles to keep top pressure and is often looking to land as many strikes as he can before his opponent works their way back to their feet. While I’d love to see him show the ability to control the fight on the ground as well, making his opponent get back to their feet before pouring on pressure again is another great way for Pico to drain the life out of opponents.

The striking defense of Pico is mainly a high guard and some reactive footwork to scoot out of range when he needs to, but he’s definitely hittable at times. His guard leaves him open for more looping, hook-like shots that usually come in as haymakers. His lack of head movement along with his guard puts him in position to get hit when he doesn’t need to be. Another spot we see him open to getting tagged is when he throws punches to close distance. While he’s usually smart about how he blitzes in, if he’s not in range when he explodes, he has a tendency to throw his hands wildly with his chin up. He’s usually only open for a split second, but a good counter puncher will likely find that timing.

Filling in at the last minute for Gabriel Braga will be Bellator veteran Henry Corrales. Corrales already holds a win over Pico and handed him his first knockout loss in 2019. Corrales won that fight with the same tactics he still uses to this day: patience on the outside and violence when it gets in close.

Henry Corrales is a tough task to solve on the feet as he’s powerful and durable like a brawler but works behind a very crisp jab and lead calf kick like someone more technical. He can beat you at range if you’re unwilling to engage with him and if you’re lazy with your head movement and striking entries, he’ll put your lights out in those exchanges as well.

One area where we’ve seen drastic improvements from Corrales is his takedown defense. Since training with the Cejudo brothers, Henry has been nearly impossible to keep down. He doesn’t always react quickly to the takedown attempts (which I attribute more to his footwork and wild striking) but even when his opponents get deep in, he’s able to intelligently defend. If he’s not able to prevent the takedown, he’s shown to be extremely quick in getting up off his back. This has really allowed him to dictate the outcome of the fight on the feet instead of losing large chunks due to being outwrestled.

Though the jab and calf kicks of Corrales have been wildly effective, his striking arsenal is relatively small otherwise. He relies a lot on the double jab to the overhand right as well as looping hook combos. He doesn’t do a good job of keeping himself at striking range when throwing these combos and often will crash into his opponent during the combo. Luckily, he’s quick to begin working for position in the clinch and throwing powerful uppercuts and hooks before releasing. His strikes, especially at range, can be slow and predictable but he’s accurate and lands with enough force to steal rounds if you aren’t active enough.

I think we can expect to see a similar start to the fight as we did in Corrales/Pico 1, but I’m not expecting Pico to be so careless in the pocket this time. Now a veteran himself, Pico’s faster and has the more technical striking as well as the better wrestling. Corrales has improved drastically with his takedown defense so it’ll be interesting to see if Pico’s able to get him down (and more importantly keep him down). I certainly expect him to try while mixing in his boxing combinations.

You should expect Corrales to attack the lead leg of Pico early. His jab and calf kick will likely give us an early read on how this one will play out. If Pico’s able to avoid getting hit flush with the jab and is capable of checking/avoiding the calf kicks, it’s going to make it tremendously difficult for Corrales to mount any other sort of offense. He’s going to be reliant on his counters and I don’t expect that to be enough.


While I do believe the odds are a bit too far apart, I agree with Pico being the favorite. Corrales has managed to go almost 30 professional MMA bouts without being knocked out but he is definitely still able to be hurt. He’s tough and has shown to recover quickly but I don’t see Pico giving him that opportunity this time. I think Pico’s going to take this short notice opportunity to avenge what has to be one of his most bitter defeats, going in with pressure and tight combinations to get the knockout.

Prediction: Aaron Pico to win (-450 at BetUS)

Best Bet: Aaron Pico by KO

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