The Bo Nickal period started because the oddsmakers anticipated it could on Saturday with a dominant first-round submission.
Nickal (4-0), a three-time Division I nationwide champion wrestler at Penn State, wanted just below three minutes to provide a faucet in his first UFC bout, submitting Jamie Pickett by way of arm-triangle choke to kick off the UFC 285 pay-per-view card inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
An harm final fall postponed Nickal’s December promotional debut, simply months after scoring a pair of victories on the Dana White Contender Series to safe a UFC contract. The delay solely helped in creating extra buzz for his first UFC struggle, turning into probably the most anticipated Octagon debuts in latest reminiscence, and the 27-year-old native of Colorado did not disappoint by way of the anticipated one-sided dominance as a heavy favourite.
Nickal slipped within the opening seconds after lacking a wild excessive kick try, however he met Pickett (13-9) within the clinch and proceeded to take him down with a entrance headlock. After shortly taking Pickett’s again, Nickal struggled to safe a choke however took his time — twice switching up his grip — earlier than getting the faucet at 2:54 of the opening spherical.
“I really feel at dwelling. I’ve been coaching my entire life for this,” Nickal mentioned. “I really feel like I used to be born, bred and I practice on a regular basis to return out right here and dominate and that is what I did.”
Nickal, who additionally captured the Dan Hodge Trophy at Penn State in 2019 because the nation’s most excellent collegiate wrestler (whereas additionally securing Big Ten Athlete of the Year honors), confirmed an unimaginable mixture of confidence and superior method regardless of solely making a full-time transition to MMA in late 2021.
“For me, I’m 4-0 and 27, I’m younger,” Nickal mentioned. “I’ve been doing MMA for a 12 months and a half and I’m in the principle card on a UFC pay-per-view. That’s loopy as hell.”
Pickett, 34, misplaced for the third straight time and fell to 2-5 total since making his UFC debut in 2020.
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