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Penn State Great Bo Nickal Wins UFC Debut With 1st-Round Submission

Bo Nickal
Photo courtesy of Lexi Nickal, Bo’s sister.

Bo Nickal is a Penn State wrestling legend, a rising UFC star and a bad, bad man.

Nickal made his long-awaited UFC debut late Saturday night in Vegas at UFC 285.

Most expected a short fight. That’s what they got.

Nickal (1-0) beat Jamie Pickett (13-9) with a submission 2:54 into the first round. This moved him to 4-0 in his professional MMA career. Nickal’s fights have lasted a combined five and a half minutes.

The Penn State great, who won three national championships and was a national runner-up the year he didn’t win, was supposed to fight Pickett in December. But an injury forced Nickal to withdraw.

When fight night finally rolled around, Nickal was -2200 according to FanDuel Sportsbook. He backed up those odds big time. Even though his MMA career is only a few years old, fans have already grown used to seeing Nickal dominate his opponents. He had one professional fight under his belt before competing in Dana White’s Contender Series this past summer. In the Contender Series, Nickal submitted Zachary Borrego and Donovan Beard in a combined 1:54 to earn himself a UFC contract.

At Penn State, Bo Nickal ended his career 120-3, becoming a four-time All-American and winning the 2019 Hodge Trophy, which is wrestling’s version of the Heisman.

Nickal’s fight coincided with the first day Big Ten Wrestling Championships. No. 1 Penn State has a great chance of winning for the first time since 2019, Nickal’s senior season. Penn State is up 14.5-points on No. 2 Iowa. Six PSU wrestlers will be competing in Big Ten championship matches.

Additionally, Penn State basketball, currently on the NCAA Tournament bubble, has a massive regular-season finale against Maryland at the Bryce Jordan Center Sunday. Tip-off is scheduled for noon. Penn State men’s hockey is also playing the rubber match of its best-of-three set with Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament. The women’s hockey team won the CHA title Saturday.

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