Former Penn State Wrestler Bo Nickal Set to Make MMA Debut
Former three-time NCAA D-I wrestling champion Bo Nickal is set to make his MMA debut this Friday, Sept. 24.
Regarded as, maybe, the greatest Penn State athlete of all-time, Nickal joins a long list of former Nittany Lion wrestlers who entered into the MMA, like Ed Ruth and Phil Davis.
Nickal is set to take on David Conley, who sports a 1-0 record fighting out of Ellenwood, Georgia. Conley is currently ranked 194th out of 433 amatuer middleweight fighters in the United States via Tapology.
His last fight was May 7 at Island Fights Championships in Pensacola, Florida. He won against Michael Richardson with a guillotine choke in the 185 pound division.
During Nickal’s preparation to try and make the most recent Olympics, he helped train UFC BMF champion Jorge Masvidal for his two welterweight fights against Kamaru Usman.
During an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Masvidal gave some high praise for Nickal.
“I can’t do nothing to that dude in wrestling, man. That's the guy to look out for, man. Bo’s a stud, he came down with a couple guys, Anthony Cassar who’s a champion from Penn State. The future’s looking bright for the American Top Team man,” Masvidal said.
American Top Team recently opened a new training facility in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania, where Nickal will be serving as the head wrestling coach of American Top Team Happy Valley.
Nickal told MyMMANews last month that he is fully transitioning into MMA and plans to go fully pro in 2022.
The fight will be the first on a three-fight card Friday night, with the main event being between internet celebrities Supreme Patty and John Gabbana (the “boonk gang” guy). It will be shown via a pay-per-view live stream on FITE for a price of $19.99.
Nickal’s celebrity obviously played a part in him landing his first amateur fight on pay-per-view with two, for lack of a better word, interesting celebrities. Despite the main focus of the event not being Nickal, it presents a great opportunity for him to display his skills on a national stage.
This may be Nickal’s first fight but it should tell the world a lot about what kind of fighter he plans to be.
Obviously nothing is known about his striking ability, stance or how he will move within the ring.
Will he try to stand and bang or will he stalk Conley and wait for a takedown opportunity?
Personally, I think a takedown is more likely. I’m fairly confident that Conley will not be able to out grapple and wrestle Nickal. If this fight is taken to the mat, give me Nickal by submission in round one.
Jordan Mansberger is a fourth-year student at Penn State majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.