At Bellator 220, Adam Picolotti (11-2 MMA) will take on former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson (26-8 MMA) on April 27th, which he hopes can put his name into title contention.
Picolotti’s Start in MMA
Picolotti was almost destined to compete in MMA. He grew up with a proud father who raised him under the banner of what a true wrestler is all about. Speaking with FightBook MMA’s Sasha Moks, Picolotti describes moments when he was younger, wrestling his dad and even getting injured. However, the true sucess of Picolotti’s combat career began when he transitioned into jiu-jitsu.
I like to say that my journey into MMA was very organic. I grew up wrestling first of all. My dad was a wrestler in his junior college career. Not that he was the highest level type of guy, but he wrestled and he had a lot of pride in that, and that made me have a lot of pride in that as well. Half of my family comes from a very smart, tech-based side and the other half is a bunch of pure athletes. So I always kind of gravitated towards that side, obviously.
Coming from a strong family background in athletics, Picolotti wanted to differ himself from the group. He thrived off of combat sports and his true competitive nature took over when he found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
But then I found jiu-jitsu. And jiu-jitsu, I fell in love with instantly. I started competing within weeks of training, and I had a lot of success from my wrestling background. It translated so well.
The Bomb of Bellator
It’s not secret that Picolotti has spent the majority of his career within Bellator. He began his professional career within a regional promotion, but after going 4-0 in an impressive fashion, he was almost destined to reach the heights of Bellator.
Bellator has been amazing. They have absolutely been amazing to me. They kind of scouted me out of the Dragon House here in San Francisco. Immediately, when I got the phone call from my coaches to fight for Bellator MMA in a card they have in Fresno, I was ecstatic. Of course we all see the UFC, but at that point I kind of done enough homework to know that Bellator is something special. I knew who Scott Coker was, we all knew who Scott Coker was from his Strikeforce days. So my excitement for signing with Bellator has always been there.
First Loss within Bellator
Bellator has poised Picolotti with amazing opportunities and new exposure. Bellator has also allowed Picolotti to grow and mature. After suffering his first professional loss, Adam rushed into the octagon and against Bellator veteran, David Rickels. The second fight, also didn’t go his way,
So you obviously hear people all the time saying losses can be the best thing that can happen to you as a fighter. It’s very telling on what I needed to work on. I had my first loss against Yamauchi, and to be honest with you, I did not own it the way I should have. I took it as I just messed up, slipped, I don’t know what happened. I let him catch me, and said it is what it is. Let me get right back in there and fight this guy Rickels who I know i’m better than. But then I go out and I don’t perform against Rickels. And so I had to really take a step back and examine myself and judge myself. There were aspects within my mental game which, looking back at now see as holes. There have been tons of sources that have helped me to develop that. But kind of opening up and looking within myself it taught me that actually being open and being willing enough to talk to all my different coaches and all the different people that are close to me and mean something to me has really helped me to re-define myself mentally.
Picolotti versus Henderson
Benson brings experience, that’s number one. He’s been there, he’s fought everyone. He’s tough as nails and super hard to put away. He brings a lot of great things to this game. I think I bring equally as good as things in all the aspects of the fighting game. I think I can strike just as good as him, I think I can grapple just as good as him, I believe I am actually better in those aspects.
Obviously, if Picolotti is victorious against Henderson, it puts him a phenomenal position to fight for the title. Such that, he believes it is a strong argument to the rest of the division that he deserves the title shot next.
That is absolutely something that I want. That is something I am always striving for. It’s been my goal since day one. Beating Benson, to me, is a great arguing point – but I’m not in this business to argue. I’m in this business to perform. That’s what I plan on doing. Bellator has been nothing but good to me, so I got faith in their best judgment on what the next fight is going to be. I believe it puts me in a strong position to fight for that title.
To watch the full interview, check out the video below:
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