Bellator 299 Co-Main Event Breakdown

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On any given Saturday in MMA, you’re bound to have at least several noteworthy fights, and this particular Saturday is no exception. This week, Bellator MMA has a couple of good fights at the top of Bellator 299.

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Although the long-term future of Scott Coker’s promotion is in question, the immediate future is bright. Know this: Bellator has three shows remaining in 2023, beginning Saturday with Bellator 299 in Dublin. Plans for Bellator 302, scheduled for early 2024, are already in the cards.

3Arena is the site for Bellator’s first card of the autumn season. Saturday, before the UFC holds another Fight Night at the Apex, Showtime is the place for Bellator 299 and the Bellator 299 co-main event.

Top-5 Featherweight Tussle in Bellator 299 Co-Main Event

Live coverage of the show begins with the undercard at 11 am ET/ 8 am PT on YouTube. Main card action follows at 4 pm ET/ 1 pm PT on Showtime. Barring any postponements between now and then, Bellator 299 features a jam-packed slate of 21 fights.

Your Bellator 299 co-main event of the evening takes place at 145 lbs. and could serve as a critical bout toward the future of the Bellator MMA World Featherweight Championship picture. No. 3 contender Aaron Pico (11-4 MMA, 11-4 Bellator) squares off against No. 5 contender Pedro Carvalho (13-7 MMA, 6-4 Bellator).

Being a nontitle fight, the Bellator 299 co-main event is an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round. Immediately following the co-main, the headliner sees the Bellator MMA Middleweight Championship at stake.

Incumbent champion Johnny Eblen (13-0 MMA, 9-0 Bellator) defends his strap against challenger and No. 1 contender Fabian Edwards (12-2 MMA, 8-2 Bellator) in the main event. More on that later on.

Bellator 299 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the Bellator 299 co-main event on Saturday night, Pedro Carvalho stands as the taller man at 5-foot-11, compared to the 5-foot-8 frame of Aaron Pico. Both men stand level in reach (70 1/2 inches apiece.)

As of Wednesday afternoon, the oddsmakers have Aaron Pico installed as a -1250 favorite, while Pedro Carvalho counters as a +600 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.

Aaron Pico Looks for Second Straight Win

Aaron Pico enters the Bellator 299 co-main event having posted a record of 4-1 over the last five fights. Back in April, he rebounded in Hawaii with a unanimous decision victory over James Gonzalez (10-7 MMA, 1-2 Bellator) during Bellator 295.

Gonzalez wasn’t always going to be his opposition that spring night. Initially, Pico was due to face off against Otto Rodrigues in Honolulu, but Rodrigues was forced to withdraw from the contest and Gonzalez accepted the contest on a week’s notice.

“I feel good, I’ve had better days,” Pico told John McCarthy after the fight. “People don’t realize that taking a tough guy like this on a week’s notice out of Serra Longo’s gym, he’s not a scrub. I was not underestimating him and he was dangerous on the ground, but I only had one week to prepare for him. Thought I did good, took some unnecessary damage, but hats off to him.”

With Pico having had a full training camp to prepare for Pedro Carvalho, will he be able to win his second straight fight? Tune into the Bellator 299 co-main event and find out.

Pedro Carvalho Gearing Up for Important “Home Game” in Bellator 299 Co-Main Event

In the other corner, Pedro Carvalho has gone 2-3 in his last five appearances. Last time out, he dropped a unanimous decision against Jeremy Kennedy (19-3 MMA, 4-1 Bellator) on Feb. 25 during Bellator 291. 

Although Carvalho is from Portugal, he’s based his training camp out of Dublin, where Bellator 299 is scheduled to be held on Saturday. From time to time in MMA, you’ll hear about a fighter getting a “home game”.

For Carvalho, that “home game” is this Saturday in the Bellator 299 co-main event. Can he improve his stature in the championship picture at featherweight in front of his adopted countrymen? Only time will tell.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the Bellator 299 co-main event looks to be another toss-up. Both contenders in this bout have established ground games, with Pico as a freestyle wrestler and Carvalho as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner.

Watch Pico’s Punches

One aspect of Aaron Pico’s fight game that’s shown up on video is his ability to punch his way to victory. His performance in the third round of his fight against Adli Edwards is a textbook example of that.

The period began with Pico, already having dominated in the first two rounds, going back to work by landing combinations. While Edwards scored with a few leg kicks, it was clear that the night belonged to Aaron Pico.

He unloaded with a barrage of punches, leaving Edwards crumpled on the cage mat like an old piece of paper. Mike Beltran waved off the fight after 55 seconds. If Pico lands punches in bunches, he’ll walk out of Dublin the winner of the Bellator 299 co-main event.

Carvalho Has Impressive Ground and Pound

In the other corner, Pedro Carvalho’s ground and pound is also something to look out for. One need look no further than his 2019 fight vs. Derek Campos.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Carvalho opened up with some kicks to the body, wobbling Campos. Upon landing a takedown, the former grappled and tried to hunt for a submission.

These efforts were jettisoned in favor of more stand-up strikes and body kicks. A quick burst of grounds and pound locked up a Carvalho victory.

If Pedro Carvalho can get Aaron Pico to the ground, it’s his world. He could wrap up a win in the Bellator 299 co-main event in a hurry.

Final Thoughts

While no championship is at stake in the Bellator 299 co-main event on Saturday, this could be an appetizing fight. Whet your whistle with this one before moving onto the succulent main course in the main event later on.

Prediction: Aaron Pico by Unanimous Decision.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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