Following back-to-back victories on Dana White’s Contender Series last year in 2022, many fans have been excited for freestyle wrestling standout Bo Nickal’s UFC debut.
Nickal was initially slated to face six-fight UFC veteran Jamie Pickett at UFC 282 on December 10, 2022. However, he was forced to withdraw from the bout in October with an injury.
But it appears his injury is all healed up, and he’s ready to go as the pairing has been rescheduled for UFC 285.
UFC 285 is to go down on March 4, 2023, live from the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
Nickal is 3-0 as a professional mixed martial artist and 2-0 as an amateur, all five wins coming in the opening round. During his short amateur run, Nickal debuted in September of 2021 and followed that win up with another in November. Then he debuted as a professional in June of 2022, and would win his next two contests in August and then September.
What’s more, the longest fight of his professional career lasted just 62 seconds. He’s been storming straight through everyone he’s faced, picking up a 33-second KO victory in his professional debut, before winning his next two fights via submission in 62 seconds (rear naked choke) and then another submission in 52 seconds (triangle choke).
His opponents’ records were 0-0, 3-0, and 7-1 respectively.
Jamie Pickett on the other hand has had a bit rockier of a road, though he’s much, much more experienced in MMA competition than Nickal, boasting 21 fights to his resume.
Pickett is a former NLFC middleweight champion, a title he won and defended twice prior to joining the UFC.
Upon his UFC arrival, Pickett was 11-4 as a professional, though he’s since gone 2-4, bringing his record to 13-8.
An interesting fact going into this bout; Pickett lost his first two UFC bouts, before winning his next two-straight. He’s since lost his last two-straight, but, he has never lost more than two fights in a row.
Pickett boasts a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, while Nickal has been awarded his blue belt since he began training the art in 2019.
Bo Nickal is one of the very best wrestlers, and one of the very best athletes this sport has seen. He was a finalist every single year he competed in the NCAA Division I National Championships, placing second his freshman year (33-2) before winning gold the next three in his sophomore (26-1), junior (31-0), and senior years (30-0), giving him an overall collegiate record of 120-3, which is just astounding.
In contrast his national championships, Nickal also won the Big Ten Championships three times, in 2016, 2018, 2019, and he took home the bronze medal in 2017. He’s also a US National Championships gold medalist, as well as a U23 (under 23) World Championships gold medalist, both titles of which he won in 2019.
In his final freestyle wrestling match in 2020 Nickal placed second at the US Olympic Team Trials, taking home the silver medal, coming in second only to David Taylor, who went on to win the Olympics later that year. That marked the fourth time Taylor had won a World Championship in the sport.
Does Nickal blow right through Pickett like he did his first three opponents, or does Pickett’s experience prove too much for him?
If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to share it on social media!
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.