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KO Bo: Nickal Wins MMA Debut With 33-Second Knockout


Michigan v Penn State Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

After two amateur fights ending in two finishes, Nickal continued his MMA career by turning pro and taking on John Noland last night on UFC Fight Pass. While expectation were high going into the fight, Nickal lived up to them and then some, earning a vicious knockout victory in just 33 seconds.

First, let’s provide some context to this: while it was on UFC Fight Pass, this was not a UFC fight. Instead, it was a part of Jorge Masvidal’s iKON FC. And with that being the case, Nickal’s opponent was not exactly top-tier. Noland is a 36-year-old who was also making his pro MMA debut, after totaling a 6-2 amateur MMA record.

To put it simply: Bo was a heavy favorite going into the fight. Smart money was on Nickal to finish Noland inside one round so the result itself isn’t that surprising. What was surprising and impressive was just how clean Nickal’s strikes looked. When you see wrestlers transition to MMA, they can look very robotic when striking, especially early on in their careers. But man, Bo’s hands looked fluid and the kicks were nice too. Of course, he still has room for vast improvement when it comes to the striking, but his growth as a striker from his amateur fights to now is something. He looks like a natural — especially that power.

Next step from here may be one more independent circuit fight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the UFC, Bellator, or the PFL — the top three North American fighting organizations — locked him up. I mean, Bo’s wrestling alone was going to provide him an extremely high floor in MMA, but with his power and ever-improving striking technique, he absolutely has championship potential.