UFC 273: Mark O. Madsen Stays Perfect, Improves to 12-0 With Win Over Vinc Pichel

Vinc Pichel and Mark O. Madsen, UFC 273
Vinc Pichel and Mark O. Madsen, UFC 273 face-off Credit: Youtube/UFC

The UFC 273 Pay-Per-View card opener, a lightweight scrap between Vinc Pichel and Mark O. Madsen, might otherwise be titled “when an Olympian goes to Hell.”

Vinc “From Hell” Pichel, at 39, was on a solid late-career run, with three straight wins and a 7-2 record overall inside the octagon. Madsen, the silver-medal winner at the 2016 Olympic Games in Greco-Roman Wrestling (75kg) was unbeaten as a professional fighter.

Not a bad way to kick off the UFC 273 main card, in other words.

The action opened up with Madsen on the outside, Pichel at center, but as he pressed forward, he was forced to contend with some Madsen leg kicks. They certainly had some snap to them. Pichel fired a right hand, and a body kick, but the lead leg of Pichel continued to be the number one target for Denmark’s Madsen.

Later in the round, Pichel followed up a right hand with some trash talk, warning Madsen to watch out. But the most significant damage through the opening five minutes were those leg kicks, even as the pair opened up and let their hands go more. With just over a minute in the first stanza, Madsen scored a key takedown, but Pichel didn’t stay down long, and fired his jab once back on the feet.

Ahead of the bout, Pichel had predicted a scrap that was similar to Little Caesars pizza — hot n’ ready. The first round had been hot; whether Pichel could adjust to Madsen’s kick-heavy gameplan remained to be seen.

Round two found Pichel looking to circle out of harm’s way; he’d connect with a body kick in the opening minute, while Madsen’s low kicks were a bit less crisp in the early going. Pichel’s movement was markedly improved, but Madsen has having some success when he closed the distance. Near the midway mark, Madsen latched on with a body lock and dragged Pichel down; with Pichel on his knees, the Olympic wrestler threaded his leg through his opponent’s, controlling him. Pichel then scrambled, and caught Madsen’s leg in a triangle for a calf-slicer attempt. A low-percentage but fun attempt, and one that allowed Pichel to escape back to his feet.

Back in the open, Pichel connected with a couple of punches, then changed levels for a takedown. He’d eventually pull Madsen’s legs out from under him, completing the takedown and becoming the first man to take Danish fighter down in the UFC. At the end of the round, Pichel made a throat-slash gesture as the pair returned to their corners.

Early in the third, Pichel moved in for another takedown attempt. He had a leg, but Madsen fought off the attempt, reversed, and but his weight on Pichel against the fence. “From Hell” broke away, firing a front kick; moments later, Madsen would land a key takedown attempt right in the center of the cage. Miles away from the fence, with three and a half minutes remaining, Pichel was in a bad spot. He threw up a triangle, but Madsen quickly pulled out of that, retaining top position. In half guard, then back into full guard, Madsen kept the weight on.

The crowd didn’t love the lack of action, but Madsen was eating up clock and inching closer to victory with every passing second. Pichel could be overheard complaining Madsen was “just holding me,” and the crowd voiced its displeasure again, but there was no intervention by the ref. The scorecards, meanwhile, favored Madsen.

Official Result: Mark O. Madsen def. Vinc Pichel by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)