UFC 285 Hot Prospect of the Week: The Most Decorated Prospect on the Roster Will Make His UFC Debut With a Bang

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Bo Nickal reacts after beating Zahid Valencia during their Freestyle 86kg semifinal match on day 1 of the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials on April 02, 2021. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

The UFC returns to Vegas for a stacked pay-per-view event at the T-Mobile Arena, where we’ll witness the long-awaited return of Jon Jones. However, MMA pursuits are just as excited about the debut of Bo Nickal, a wrestling prodigy who’s already being tipped as a future top 10 contender.  

Continue reading for our complete betting guide and UFC picks, taking a first look at the undefeated, 3-0, Bo Nickal and her opponent, Jamie Pickett.

UFC fans and bettors interested in our Hot Prospect of the Week can make their bets at any of the major US betting sites.

UFC 285 Hot Prospect Betting Pick  

UFC Pick: Bo Nickal by Submission (-170) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Bo Nickal by Submission (-170)
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Bo Nickal by Submission Reasoning 

The moneyline price on Bo Nickal is -2000. And no, this isn’t a boxing contest, despite this incredibly juiced price. It’s nothing more than a representation of the oddsmakers and bettors’ confidence in Nickal’s ability. The question isn’t whether the UFC’s new highly touted prospect will win or not; the question is, how will he win?

Behind a dominant ground game and heavy top control, utilizing his BJJ skills is the most likely outcome. Sure, Nickal can ground and pound his way to victory, but as he’s displayed in his previous two bouts, snatching a neck and submitting the opposition makes for a quick and easy night.  

UFC 285 Information  

  • Date & Time: Saturday, March 4, 2023 – 05:30 PM EST 
  • Location: T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada 
  • Scheduled Fights: 14  
  • Main Event: Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane (UFC Heavyweight Championship Bout)  

UFC 285 Hot Prospect Profile: Bo Nickal

  • Pro MMA Record: 3-0 (1 KO, 2 submissions)
  • UFC Record: 0-0, debut

Bo Nickal has barely stepped foot in the UFC and has received callouts from veteran pro fighters. The Dana White Contender Series alum hasn’t just received a fast track to the big leagues with three fights on his record for no reason, as he boasts multiple championships, medals, and accolades in freestyle wrestling.  

Is Bo Nickal being pushed too soon? After all, he received a DWCS opportunity with just one professional MMA fight on his record. Watch his fight versus Zack Borrego, and reach a conclusion yourself.  

That said, the UFC didn’t instantly offer Nickal a UFC contract, despite his DWCS debut that lasted the entirety of 1 minute and 2 seconds after sinking in a rear naked choke. Almost every martial artist that dominates a fight on this show receives a contract; however, with such a lack of experience, the UFC needed to see more.  

Nickal returned to DWCS for his second appearance, this time versus a more experienced opponent in the 6-0-0 Donovan Beard. The same story played out, but this time, the college wrestling stand-out wrapped up the contest in 52 seconds via triangle choke.  

So, What Makes Nickal So Special?

Nickal has the ability to ground an opponent and keep them there. His skillset comes from twenty-two years of freestyle wrestling experience: he became a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion, the 2019 U23 World Champion, the US Open National Champion, and a finalist in the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials. Not forgetting the occasions when he reached the NCAA National Championships final in 2016 and became a Big Ten Conference champion thrice.  

Bo Nickal vs. Jamie Pickett: The Fight Tape     

The UFC understands they have a potential star on their hands, as Nickal is already gaining a lot of social media attraction outside of the octagon. Unfortunately for his UFC 285 opponent, Jamie Pickett (13-8-0), he’s being used as nothing more than a stepping stone in the decorated wrestler’s UFC beginnings.  

Pickett is already riding a two-fight losing streak that involved one D’Arce choke and a TKO. Can he stop the takedown of Nickal? Well, this is highly unlikely. And Pickett hasn’t won a fight inside the distance since his 2020 Contender Series appearance, thus making the probability of him stopping Nickal with his fists unprobeable. 

The fight tape isn’t complicated for this one; Nickal will utilize his bread and butter. Pickett won’t have an answer for the takedown, and whether it’s the first or third round, the UFC’s brightest new prospect will find a neck, an arm, or a leg to tweak and force his opponent to tap.    

UFC 285 Hot Prospect Best Bet  

The available UFC odds at Bookmakers Review are insanely priced, but I understand. The sportsbooks are letting up on this one, as Nickal sits with a -2000. I can’t remember the last time we saw such a highly juiced line in MMA, but it shows how much the MMA community believes in his abilities.  

The worry about our betting pick this week is Nickal’s approach to finishing the fight. He could opt to pummel Pickett and collect a TKO; however, going on his current trend, unleashing the jiu-jitsu with such a dominant wrestling game from the top position is the easiest and quickest path to victory for the folkstyle wrestling legend.

UFC Pick: Bo Nickal by Submission (-170) at BetOnline

UFC 285 Main Card & Odds 

UFC 285 Preliminary Card & Odds 

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.