UFC Fantasy Fight: Can Bo Nickal beat Israel Adesanya?

Bo Nickal vs Israel Adesanya
Bo Nickal vs Israel Adesanya

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Here is how a fantasy matchupBo Nickal vs Israel Adesanya might possibly pan out

Bo Nickal hasn’t even made his official UFC debut yet, but MMA fanatics have fancied his chances against the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. The long-reigning middleweight champion reigns supreme and no fighter has come close to successfully vanquishing ‘The Last Stylebender’. Bo Nickal is soaking in the popularity he has gained from his brilliant performances at Dana White’s Contender Series.

A collegiate wrestler with great credentials, Nickal is tipped to be the next big thing in the company. The sought-after MMA prospect has three wins as a professional fighter, all of which have come via finishes in the first round.

With the community holding a high opinion of the youngster, we take a look at how a fight with Adesanya would play out.

Israel Adesanya, the next big thing in UFC
Adesanya doing his celebration

Eugene Bareman and his team at The City Kickboxing Academy have taken the MMA world by storm. Producing world-class athletes like Shane Young, Kai Kara-France, Brad Riddell, Dan Hooker, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, the fight team has emerged as one of the strongest camps in the MMA world today.

The prized possession amongst this fresh crop of new talent is the undisputed middleweight king, Israel Adesanya.

‘The Last Stylebender’ has emerged as a true superstar in recent times drawing his inspiration from anime, hip-hop culture and his African roots. From his flamboyant octagon entries to his spectacular mic skills, the Nigerian-born never shies away from a challenge.

In a sport that is evolving every day, ‘Izzy’ has changed the way we perceive striking through his laser-sharp precision punches, exceptional footwork and seemingly unintelligible defense.

Izzy has successfully set in motion and established the feint game which was unique when MMA textbook striking is taken into consideration. He draws reactions out of his opponents through subtle movements and in doing so computes the data and launches his range of attacks.

He has a wide variety of skills in his arsenal and tricks up his sleeves that he uses to penetrate the opponent’s game plan and leaves it to pieces. MMA pundits say it constantly and we’ve seen it, albeit rarely in fights where Izzy has had trouble. He has an impeccable balance of offense and defense that allows him to slip punches and opponent ambush just in time. His ability to mix things up from switch kicks, throwaway shots, drawing attacks and counter strikes is what sets him apart.

Bo Nickal on the other hand is an exceptional wrestler with a bunch of wrestling credentials under his belt. He is an American professional mixed martial artist, former freestyle and graduated Folkstyle wrestler who recently received the coveted UFC contract. In freestyle wrestling, he claimed the 2019 U23 World Championship and the US Open National championship, and was a finalist at the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials and a Final X contestant in 2019. Nickal was a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion (finalist in 2016) and a three-time Big Ten Conference champion out of Pennsylvania State University as a collegiate wrestler.

Considered one of the most accomplished Nittany Lions of all time, Nickal earned the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate wrestler, was a two-time Schalles Award winner as the nation’s best pinner and was also named the 2019 Big Ten Athlete of the Year. [Source:Wikipedia]

Most recently, former UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier revealed that Nickal’s mom had him train in boxing early on his life. The dividends of that are apparent from his slick striking skills which are akin to a polished standup fighter.

What are the chances that Bo Nickal would have beat Israel Adesanya?

Former UFC double champion Henry Cejudo had claimed following Nickal’s victory over Donovan Beard that the American would be a bad matchup for Adesanya. He claimed:

“Those who don’t think Bo Nickal is the real deal, I’m [telling] you guys right now. As an Olympic champion, as a two-division champion, I don’t even wanna say prospect no more, I think it’s just penny whenever this guy actually becomes champion at 185 pounds. I think if you’re able to put him against Israel Adesanya now, just according to styles, Bo Nickal beats him. He puts him to his back, controls his wrists, grapples the heck out of him, and that’s all she wrote.”

During his appearance on The MMA Hour, Nickal claimed that while he respects Adesanya, he fancies the idea of that matchup.

“That’s like a dream matchup for me. Obviously with all due respect, he’s one of the greatest middleweights of all time, a great champion, but I think people say this a lot — styles make fights. With that being said, I feel confident in that matchup. I feel very good about it, and I would love to have that fight at some point in the future. That would literally be a dream for me.”

With all that in mind, it is still too early to determine whether Bo Nickal can beat Israel Adesanya. Does he have a good chance against ‘The Last Stylebender’? Yes! His grappling credentials are second to none, but taking down Adesanya, let alone controlling him on the ground is no easy feat.

Adesanya has great takedown defense and perhaps he can catch Nickal with something out of the box that the American might not have dealt with in his career. Two or three good solid victories against the best names in the division would help analyze the situation better.

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