The blueprint for making a UFC superstar seems set: take a brash, young fighter, add in a serious dose of knockout power, and fill to the brim with social media hype. It’s a recipe that’s worked for everyone from Conor McGregor to Paddy Nickal.
Bo Nickal doesn’t fit that mold, though, and he might end up being the biggest star the UFC has seen in quite some time.
A humble and hardworking wrestler, Nickal has taken the MMA world by storm, displaying incredible skills en route to putting together an undefeated record. And if you want the best site, make sure to check out Bovada – it has it all!
It’s a foregone conclusion that his next fight will generate tons of interest as the hype grows, but the big question on everyone’s mind is…who will that fight be against?
Bo Nickal’s Career at a Glance
Bo Nickal always knew he would be a professional fighter, but for a long time, it looked like wrestling would be his calling.
A celebrated grappler at Penn State, Nickal won three national championships and the Dan Hodge Trophy while in college. That makes him one of the most accomplished amateur wrestlers of all time, and fans of the sport were eager to see what he’d do upon graduating.
He won the 2019 U23 World Championship and the US National Championship, but Olympic glory eluded him, as he fell to fellow Nittany Lion legend David Taylor in the team trials. Taylor would go on to win gold — and Nickal would go on to fight in a cage.
Nickal started working with American Top Team, helping to open a new training facility in Pennsylvania. He also started fighting in some amateur mixed martial arts bouts, easily winning his initial three fights in the first round.
This drew the attention of UFC president Dana White, who signed him to compete in his namesake Contender Series. These fights were more of the same for Nickal, as both of his bouts were pictures of complete dominance that failed to make the second round.
These performances earned Nickal a UFC contract, and he made his debut at UFC 285 in March 2023. Facing a much more experienced fighter in journeyman Jamie Pickett, Nickal was nevertheless as overpowering as ever, ending the fight in the first via arm-triangle choke.
His second bout was originally supposed to be against Tresean Gore at UFC 290 in July, but Gore was injured days before the fight and replaced by Val Woodburn on short notice.
Woodburn didn’t have much time to prepare for the fight, but that might not have mattered, as it took Nickal all of 38 seconds to knock him out.
No one has ever seriously threatened Nickal in his MMA career or even taken him to the second round. That’s why his next fight will be viewed with such intense interest — if he continues this reign of dominance, a shot at the middleweight title might not be far behind.
Who is Bo Nickal Fighting Next?
We don’t know for sure who Bo Nickal will be fighting next — or when.
The young competitor has said that he’s in no rush to return to the Octagon, hinting that it might not be until 2024 that we see him again. He has a pregnant wife at home, so he may want to wait until after the birth of his child to ramp up his training again.
Nickal is taking the long view on his career, preferring to take fights that make sense and advance him up the ranks rather than accepting any contest that comes his way.
It’s a smart strategy — but not necessarily one that Dana White enjoys, as he’s often given preferential treatment to fighters who have a “anyone, any time” approach to taking fights.
That being said, White has publicly expressed a desire to bring Nickal along slowly rather than rushing him into fights he’s unprepared for. Of course, White being White, he then followed that up by saying he gave Cain Velasquez a title shot when he was 3-0, so who knows?
Below, we’ve listed some fights that make sense for Nickal, as well as a few we’d like to see, regardless of how sensible they are.
This fight obviously makes a lot of sense; after all, it was supposed to happen in July before Gore got hurt.
The only issue here is that Gore was basically just a tune-up fight for Nickal, a stepping stone on his way up the ranks. By beating Woodburn so soundly, Nickal has basically already climbed past the point he’d be with a victory over Gore.
Also, Nickal’s fame is growing to the point where White will almost be forced to pit him against another well-known fighter, and Gore is most certainly not well-known. Perhaps the biggest reason to set up this fight would be to ensure Nickal could fight at least two more times in 2024.
That being said, Gore is a fighter with a lot of potential but not a lot of polish. He had an impressive showing in The Ultimate Fighter, making it to the finals before withdrawing due to injury.
However, in the MMA world, there are prospects, and then there are prospects, and these two fighters are definitely in different categories. Setting up this fight would likely be an admission that White wants to build as gentle a rise to the top for Nickal as humanly possible.
Meerschaert is another fighter who’s not exactly a household name, but he has seemingly served an important role for White in the middleweight division before.
White seems to like to use Meerschaert as a gatekeeper for younger, more hyped-up fighters. Beat him, and you can move on to the upper echelon of the division. Lose, and you may never get there.
He’s recently been scheduled against the likes of Andre Petroski and Joseph Pyfer, both of whom are considered top-notch young talent. He was also a speed bump on the way to the top for Khamzat Chimaev a few years ago.
Meerschaert is nothing if not a known quantity. He’s a dangerous, well-rounded fighter capable of beating anyone if they don’t take him seriously, but he’s not a serious threat to the top talent in the division.
At 35 years old, his MMA story is largely already written. There won’t be any title fights in his future. That doesn’t mean he’s without value to the company, though, and putting a fighter like Nickal through his paces may be just what White needs Meerschaert to do.
If this fight happens (and Nickal wins), expect his next bout to be against a top-15 opponent.
Why make Nickal fight a journeyman when you can just pit him against another of your top prospects?
This fight would be very exciting for UFC fans, and it would firmly establish the winner as the possible future of the division. If White wants Nickal to have a title shot ASAP, having him beat Pyfer would be a good way to do it.
The problem is that you’ll be putting a damper on one of your top young fighters along the way. White could allow both fighters to keep rising through the ranks independently of one another, allowing a future showdown to be much higher stakes than it would be today.
Pyfer is already scheduled to face Abdul Razak Alhassan in October, so a showdown with Nickal would have to come after that. Given the fact that Nickal is apparently comfortable waiting until 2024, though, that shouldn’t be an issue.
This would be an exciting fight, and the winner would be white-hot and a legitimate possibility for a main event slot soon afterwards. However, there’s no reason to have these two cancel each other out so early in their careers, and we doubt White books this fight at this time.
If anything, he’ll wait for an opportunity where he can put both fighters’ names above the fold in an upcoming PPV.
Chris Weidman is an intriguing possibility who checks a lot of boxes for White.
On the one hand, he’s one of the most recognizable names in the division, and many casual fans only think of him as the man who toppled Anderson Silva. A win over someone like this would do wonders for Nickal’s Q-rating.
On the other hand, Weidman is undoubtedly in the sunset of his career, having lost seven of his last nine forays into the cage. He’s probably not much of a threat to Nickal anymore.
That could create an opportunity for White to feed Nickal a name that will rile up the fan base without putting his star fighter in true jeopardy. He could then use Nickal’s victory to tout him as a legitimate title contender — after all, he’d have beaten the man who beat Spider Silva.
Of course, there’s always the chance that Weidman could find one more vintage performance in his back pocket and derail White’s plans, but even then, that could be spun as a better loss than it truly is.
This could also be used as one last hurrah for one of the best fighters the middleweight division has ever seen. It’s unlikely Weidman goes out on top if this is his last fight, but it’s better than riding off into the sunset after being beaten by the likes of Brad Tavares.
Another young fighter who can rightfully claim to be the future of the division, Borralho is a talented grappler who’s currently on a 13-fight win streak inside the cage.
Those 13 victories haven’t exactly been against the cream of the crop in the 185-pound division, though, and Borralho is likely itching to prove that he belongs among the middleweight elite. A win over Nickal would make him a big name in the UFC, and put him in line for a title shot in the not-so-distant future.
While this fight would pit two top-notch wrestlers against one another, it would also be a study in contrasts, as the majority of Borralho’s fights have gone to the judge’s scorecards while Nickal has famously never made it out of the first round.
This could be an excellent test for Nickal, as it would be extremely difficult to finish Borralho off early (and if he does, then that’s a statement in and of itself). Definitely a great option if you want to bet on UFC fights online!
The Brazilian could force Nickal to go the distance, or at least into the third round, and we could finally see what condition Nickal’s cardio is in. We could also see how he handles fights that aren’t on easy mode, as he’s never been challenged in the least inside the Octagon.
Borralho is currently scheduled to fight Nursulton Ruziboev in November, and that fight will represent a big test for him as well. If he were to win that and take down Nickal afterwards, he’d have a clear path to a title shot, possibly as soon as the end of 2024.
Another TUF alum, Petroski has been on a hot streak in the UFC, winning all five of his official bouts (including a split decision win over the aforementioned gatekeeper Gerald Meerschaert).
While his star isn’t burning quite as brightly as Nickal’s, he’s still someone who could conceivably be in the mix for a title shot in the next few years. Beating him would certainly be a feather in Nickal’s cap.
Petroski is a talented wrestler in his own right, having been a star on the Kutztown University team in college. However, that’s leagues below the level Nickal was competing at, and it’s unlikely that he can dominate Nickal on the ground.
One of the biggest things Petroski has going for him is his personal story, as he overcame a heroin addiction to become an elite mixed martial artist. His ceiling is decidedly lower than Nickal’s or even Pyfer’s, and White may be willing to sacrifice him in order to build up Nickal.
This would be an interesting fight, but it’s hard to see how Petroski comes out on top. If this bout gets made, then it’s a clear indication that White is trying to pad Nickal’s resume for a run at the belt.
Hernandez is an exciting young fighter who’s currently orbiting the fringes of the top 10 in the middleweight division. He’s won his last four fights, finishing three of them early, and he’s likely only a few fights away from challenging for the title.
Fighting Nickal, then, would allow White to accomplish two things simultaneously. A win would give Hernandez the heat needed to be a legitimate title contender, whereas a victory for Nickal could be all it takes to land Bo his own shot at the belt.
Given Hernandez’s propensity for ending fights early, a matchup with Nickal could be incredibly exciting. It wouldn’t necessarily tell us much about either fighter, but the winner would have tons of crowd support on their way to bigger and better things.
Hernandez has a lengthy injury history and a tendency to pull out of bouts, though, and that may discourage White from rewarding him with a high-profile bout with Nickal. Then again, the promise of fireworks could be too much for the UFC’s top man to resist.
Let’s just get this out of the way up front: this fight isn’t going to happen.
Let’s also say, however, that this fight could happen, even though Nickal has in no way earned a title shot at this point in his career.
White has rewarded white-hot fighters with early title shots previously (the aforementioned Cain Velasquez being just one such example), and if he feels that Nickal is capable of beating Strickland, he might want to get his title reign started early.
Also, Nickal likely has a much better shot of toppling Strickland than he does the former belt holder, Israel Adesanya. He needs a bit more seasoning before he takes on one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
It’s likely that Adesanya will get a chance to reclaim his belt, but if he’s unable to take the fight for whatever reason, White would have to move down the ranks. It would likely take a few more fighters passing on the bout for Nickal to get the call, but stranger things have happened in the UFC.
Regardless, it’s likely that White wants Nickal in the title mix as soon as possible, and most fans likely wouldn’t complain too much about seeing him in a main event, even if it is a bit premature.
Who We Want Nickal to Fight Next
The most exciting fight (that’s somewhat plausible) would likely be a showdown with Joseph Pyfer. Both men are among the most exciting fighters in the entire promotion, let alone the 185-pound division.
Regardless of how the fight shakes out, the winner would be nicely positioned for a title shot not long after, as well as becoming one of the biggest names at middleweight.
From there, fights with Strickland, Adesanya, or Dricus du Plessis are real possibilities. Any one of those could be a massive moneymaker for the UFC, which is ultimately what White cares about most.
However, we think the most likely fight is one with either Gore or Meerschaert. The former would be something of a softball for Nickal, while the latter would set him up to start taking on top-15 opponents.
If Nickal is serious about fighting multiple times in 2024, then an easier fight to begin the year makes sense, especially if it’s followed by a serious ramp-up to a title shot in the later months
When is Bo Nickal’s Next Fight?
There is no clear indication as to when Bo Nickal will next enter the Octagon, and quite frankly, all concerned parties seem to be in no rush to get him there.
Nickal himself has said he’s perfectly content taking the rest of 2023 off to hunt and spend time with his pregnant wife, so don’t expect him to rush back into action unless he gets a truly irresistible offer (like a shot at Strickland or Adesanya).
The dance cards are filling up for the end of 2023, so it’s looking less likely that he’ll be back in the Octagon this year. Again, the only thing that could change that would be a huge fight on short notice, and he may not even be willing to take that, given that there will be plenty of huge fights on the horizon for him soon enough.
Surprises are always around the corner in the UFC, so it’s not out of the question that he’ll be back this year. The smart money is on him being on a big card sometime in early 2024, however.
Best Strategies for Betting on a Bo Nickal Fight
Looking at Nickal’s resume inside the Octagon, one thing’s for sure: you’re not going to get a great price on the under.
Given that not a single one of his fights has made it out of the first round to date, most people are betting on the early finish. That means they’re also pushing the related props heavily: Nickal to win, Nickal by KO, etc.
With that in mind, there should often be some juicy lines going the other way — but only if it makes sense. Don’t pick a journeyman fighter like Meerscheart or an over-the-hill pugilist like Weidman just to be contrarian. You have to honestly think they’re going to win.
Also, keep in mind that Nickal has never been truly tested inside the cage, and we have no idea how he’ll respond when the opponent doesn’t just roll over. Does he have the cardio to keep going for a full fight? Will he get rattled if things don’t go his way? These are things the lines can’t account for yet.
All of this is to say that, generally speaking, your best bets are likely to be against Nickal, but that doesn’t mean that betting against him is a good idea. Ask yourself if you truly believe in the other fighter; if you do, then don’t be afraid to snag a juicy line when it crops up.
If you don’t, then there’s no shame in sitting a fight out and waiting for the next one.
Maintain Accounts at Multiple Sportsbooks
The best and easiest way to improve your bottom line as a sports bettor is to ensure you always get the best price when putting down a wager.
This practice is known as “line shopping,” and it’s the core of any successful betting strategy.
The idea is that once you know what bet you want to make, you visit a few different bookies to see which one has the best odds. Finding the best price on your bet can save you a ton of money in the long run and could potentially turn you into a profitable handicapper.
To do this, however, you’ll need to maintain accounts at several different sportsbooks. Take a few minutes to sign up at a few different sites and put a deposit down; that way, you’ll be able to lock in a juicy line before the public money can push it in the wrong direction.
It takes a few minutes of work, but it can pay off massively if you plan on being a regular bettor.
Use Those Deposit Bonuses
While you’re signing up at all those sportsbooks, be sure to grab all the various deposit bonuses that are on offer. Sportsbooks give away all kinds of money to entice you to sign up, and it would be foolish to let it go to waste.
You can use those free bets or deposit matches to fund longshot bets or parlays, which would basically give you a freeroll on some wagers with big paydays.
Or you can use them to bet as you normally would and create a situation where you enjoy all of the reward and none of the risk.
It’s up to you — but don’t forget those codes when signing up.
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Best Sportsbooks for Betting on Bo Nickal
Bovada tends to be a bit slower to market than some of the other sites on this list, but once they’re ready to publish a line, they usually offer excellent value. They’re a great book to check in the days leading up to a fight, so be sure to check in with them to make sure you don’t miss any juicy opportunities.
New players here can earn a 50% deposit match up to $250 (5x wagering requirement applies), while Bitcoin bettors can get a 75% match up to $750 if they enter code BTCSWB750.
No matter which MMA organization is your favorite, MyBookie is likely to have extensive lines available for you to explore. In addition to the UFC, they also take action on Bellator, the PFL, Rizin, and even bare knuckle fighting.
If you enter code MYB50 when you open an account here, the site will give you a 50% deposit match up to $1,000 (must deposit at least $50 and meet a 10x rollover requirement).
You’ll find lines months in advance at BetOnline, so if you like to jump on early odds, this is the place to do it. Like MyBookie, they take action on just about any MMA event you can think of, making it a great site to check every week.
Entering code BET1000 will give you a 50% deposit match up to $1,000 with a 10x rollover. If you prefer to bet with Bitcoin, enter code CRYPTO100 to be rewarded with a 100% match with a 14x rollover instead.
There’s an entire section at BUSR dedicated to “possible future fights,” and while they don’t have anything for Bo Nickal listed as of yet, it may be worth checking in at a later date just to see.
There’s no better way to jump on an early line than to get in before a fight’s even been officially announced, after all. It’s also one of the best UFC betting apps we found for mobile bettors.
New users who apply code SPORTS100FP at signup will get a 100% deposit match up to $1,500, provided they also deposit at least $100 and meet a 20x rollover.
If you like betting on MMA props, there’s no better place to do it than Sportsbetting.ag. They have a section devoted to these bets, and you can find a ton of lines here that aren’t available elsewhere.
Fund your new account with at least $55 to get a 50% match bonus up to $1,000 with a 10x rollover (use code SB1000). Bitcoin handicappers who use code 10CRYPTO get a 100% match instead with a mere $20 minimum deposit and 14x rollover.
Guide to Bet on Bo Nickal’s Next Fight: FAQs
Who Will Bo Nickal Fight Next?
It’s yet to be determined who Bo Nickal will fight next. UFC president Dana White has yet to tip his hand, and there are any number of fighters who would make sense for him to tangle with. Make sure to check other UFC picks on who’s Nickal’s fighting next.
When is Bo Nickal’s Next Fight?
Just as we don’t know who Bo Nickal will be fighting, we also don’t know when he’ll next find himself locked in a cage. He’s suggested that he’s content to wait until 2024, so it may be several months before we see him again.
Has Bo Nickal Ever Lost?
No, Bo Nickal has never lost inside the Octagon, running up a 5-0 record. In fact, he’s never even made it out of the first round, ending two of his fights by KO and the other three by submission.
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Who Would You Pick for Bo Nickal’s Next Fight?
It’s yet to be determined who Bo Nickal’s next opponent will be, but given his status as one of the UFC’s rising stars, you can bet that he’ll be matched with someone likely to create fireworks inside the Octagon.
We’ve listed our picks for his next opponent, from the relatively predictable (Tresean Gore) to the incredibly unlikely (Sean Strickland). And if you want the best site for betting, take a look at Bovada, it’s our top pick!
No matter who he faces off against, though, you can bet we’ll be watching.
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