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Bo Nickal Wins Main Event Of ‘Dana White’s Contender Series’

Penn State wrestling icon Bo Nickal won his second ever professional MMA bout via first-round submission on “Dana White’s Contender Series” Tuesday night.

As a result of Nickal’s lightning fast victories, UFC owner Dana White opted to hold off on offering Nickal a contract with the promotion, instead offering the Nittany Lion another fight in the Contender Series before making the final decision.

The three-time national champion’s matchup was granted the main event slot for the night. With the prospect of a UFC contract looming, the stakes for both fighters were high.

Entering the fight, Nickal boasted a 1-0 professional record. Nickal’s first bout came at Jorge Masvidal’s iKon FC 3 in June when he knocked out John Noland just 33 seconds into the first round.

Nickal’s opponent, Zach “The Dragon” Borrego, came into the matchup with a perfect 3-0-0 professional record, including two wins in under 90 seconds. At the fight’s weigh-in, Borrego missed the 186-pound weight limit by 1.5 pounds. That transgression automatically reallocated 20% of Borrego’s purse total to Nickal, regardless of the fight’s outcome.

The betting odds were heavily in Nickal’s favor, with Action Network reporting Nickal averaged out to be a -2500 favorite. Nickal even closed as a -3500 favorite on DraftKings.

“I’m gonna go out there to smash this dude,” Nickal said in a pre-fight video package. “I’m going out there to finish every single guy I fight… I don’t see him making it very far.”

He was right.

Right out of the gate, Nickal brought Borrego to the mat with a double leg takedown. They made their way toward the metal fence of the octagon. As Nickal showed off his grappling, the fight’s commentators marveled at his speed.

Barely over a minute into the contest, Nickal locked in a rear naked choke, and Borrego tapped out.

Despite describing Nickal as “one of the hottest prospects in the sport right now” after the fight, White made the decision not to award a contract.

Social media widely reacted negatively to the decision, but Nickal said he wasn’t surprised. The wrestler said he has more to show and is excited for the impending challenge.

“I’ve had two professional fights, two amateur fights, and I haven’t even been hit yet,” Nickal said. “I would like to test myself.”

Nickal’s satisfaction with the decision was not an indication of lacking confidence.

“If you’re a guy on the Contender Series, or a top ten guy in the UFC, or if I’m fighting for the belt, I can get you out of there in 60 seconds if I want to,” Nickal continued. “I can take you down and maul you. At the end of the day, [I’m] pound-for-pound the No. 1 fighter in the world.”

In a press conference following the event, White said Nickal will find himself in the UFC if he “passes the test” later in the season. Currently, it is unknown when Nickal’s fight will come, but the octagon is undoubtedly within his reach.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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