Perhaps the most anticipated debut of the year arrived on Saturday at UFC 285, as wrestling standout Bo Nickal arrived in the octagon against Jamie Pickett.
Nickal was a three-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion, and captured both the U.S. National championship and Under 23 World Championship in 2019. Making Pickett, fair or not, something of an afterthought in the fight.
The match-up played out pretty much as expected, with Nickal absolutely living up to the hype.
The fight opened up with Nickal shooting a takedown after Pickett slipped. Pickett was defending well, at least at first. However, Nickal was able to snap his head down and grab the front headlock to pull him down. In a scramble, Nickal took the back and then in half guard was threatening an arm-triangle. Nickal had the choke in for a while but wouldn’t go to side control to get the proper squeeze. He still had the strength to end up forcing Pickett to tap.
— UFC (@ufc) March 5, 2023
“I feel at home. I’ve been training my whole life for this,” Nickal said following the fight, speaking to UFC analyst Joe Rogan. “I’m 4-0, I’m 27, I’m young. I’ve been doing MMA for a year and a half, and I’m on the main card of a UFC Pay-Per-View. That’s insane. So I’m just going to keep getting better, keep dominating. And you can bet your ass I’m getting that belt, and I’m going to be the pound-for-pound number one fighter by the time my career is done.”
Official Result: Bo Nickal def. Jamie Pickett by submission (arm-triangle choke), Round 1, 2:54