Jamie Pickett’s opponent, Bo Nickal, quickly won his UFC debut. Nickal finished the opening bout on the UFC 285 main programme in the first round by showcasing his skills on the ground.
To open the UFC 285 pay-per-view event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nickal (4-0), a three-time Division I national champion wrestling at Penn State, submitted Jamie Pickett with an arm-triangle choke in just under three minutes.
Nickal’s December promotional debut was delayed by an injury last fall, just a few months after he had won two fights on the Dana White Contender Series to land a contract with the UFC. The Colorado native, did not disappoint in terms of the anticipated one-sided dominance as a strong favorite in his maiden UFC bout, which became one of the most eagerly anticipated Octagon debuts in recent memory due to the postponement.
Pickett was immediately pinned along the cage by Nickal after entering. Before Nickal successfully completed his first official UFC takedown, Pickett defended admirably for the first few seconds. Pickett had a great defense for a while before Nickal laboriously went for an arm-triangle choke and began to exhaust him. Ultimately, he tapped.
The three-time NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion was the fight’s overwhelming favorite going into it, and Nickal demonstrated he was deserving of that kind of respect. A single takedown was all it took for him to successfully choke Jamie Pickett out on the ground, where he then applied an arm-triangle choke for his first-ever UFC victory.
At 2:54 into the opening frame, Pickett gave in to the pressure and tapped out from the submission.
Nickal remarked later, “I feel at home. I’ve been training my whole life for this. I train every day so I can come out here and dominate and that’s what I did. I’m just going to keep getting better.”
“You better bet your ass I’m getting that belt and I’ll be the pound-for-pound best fighter before my career is done,” he continued.
Nickal closed the gap, grabbed a leg, and tried to knock the battle to the ground in less than 30 seconds. Nickal was persistent as he quickly switched to taking the back and started searching for a rear naked choke before switching to an arm triangle attempt.
The hold was growing tighter and tighter, and Pickett was desperately clinging on to attempt to stop Nickal from locking on the submission. Nickal’s execution of the move revealed some inexperience as he chose to keep control from the top rather than leap to the side to properly lock in the submission, but in the end, it didn’t really matter. With Pickett finally being forced to tap out because Nickal’s hold was so tight, he locked up the arm-triangle choke.
Nickal is currently 4-0 in his professional career and has a very high ceiling to reach in MMA, but there’s no rush for him to reach the top of the category as he gains more expertise and builds up his fight record.