FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/21: Aaron Pico experiment continues, Whitaker injury, Germaine de Randamie set to return, Jose Aldo, Chiesa

By Cole Henry, MMATorch editorl

Robert Whittaker (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today)

The Aaron Pico experiment continues…

On the heels of a devastating loss in his MMA debut, top prospect Aaron Pico already has a date set for a return fight. Bellator President Scott Coker has announced that Pico will return on the main card portion of Bellator 183, which will take place on Sept. 23 in San Jose, California. Pico was hyped to the moon coming into his debut against the relatively unknown Zack Freeman, but was submitted in just 24 seconds after taking a huge uppercut that sent him crashing to the mat. Pico’s opponent has not yet been announced, but hopefully it is somebody with a record more like his own (0-1), and less like his last opponent Zack Freeman (9-2).

Germaine de Randamie set to return to Bantamweight against Marion Reneau

Germaine de Randamie caused a bit of controversy recently when she decided to vacate her newly won Women’s Featherweight Championship instead of defending it against Cris Cyborg. She stated that she intended to vacate the belt, and then drop back down to her former weight class which was Bantamweight. It was announced that the title was vacated, and now it has been announced that she will in fact return to her former division. The former World Champion will face off against the always tough Marion Reneau, in what should be an entertaining fight.

Reneau has a great backstory, including having a full-time job as a PE teacher. She is 40 years old yet still winning fights. She should prove to be a tough test for the de Randamie. It’s hard to say what de Randamie’s future looks like, and you have to wonder if her refusal to defend her belt could affect her in the future when being considered for a Bantamweight Title fight. I guess we will cross that bridge when it comes, and until then she will have to figure out how to get passed Marion Reneau.

What do we do when the Interim Champ is injured?

If you have an answer, perhaps you should let the UFC know. Newly crowned Interim Middleweight Champion and number one contender Robert Whitaker has announced that he suffered grade 2 medial ligament injury to his right knee during his most recent bout against Yoel Romero. So, basically, whatever clarity we got from that fight is now gone and the Middleweight Division is back in uncertain waters.

Yoel Romero is calling for a shot and, with a healthy champion, it seems unlikely that the UFC holds up the division by waiting for Whitaker. Bisping could end up fighting Romero, or we could perhaps even see the GSP fight rumors resurface. Either way, this is an unfortunate injury for both the fighter and the division, and hopefully he heals up soon and gets his much-deserved title shot.

Jose Aldo back in action…

Former multiple time UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo is returning to action, but not in MMA. Aldo will instead compete in a BJJ match in his native Brazil. Aldo is a black belt under Andre Pederneiras so he is no slouch in the BJJ department, but this will be his first BJJ competition in over a decade. It will take place at IBJJF’s Masters International Championship in late July.

Chiesa appeal denied

Michael Chiesa had his appeal denied today by the Oklahoma Athletic Commission. He was protesting his loss to Kevin Lee, but the commission ruled that the referee acted within his authority when he stopped the fight even though Chiesa didn’t tap.

Fight Announcements

-Nick Hein vs. Zabit Magomedsharipov added to UFC Fight Night 115

-Martin Bravo Vs. Humberto Bandenay added to UFC Fight Night 114

-Ray Borg Vs. Demetrious Johnson added to UFC 115

CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S NEWS UPDATE: THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/20: Figuring out the Brock Lesnar-USADA reports and subsequent denials (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

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