Bo Nickal is all anyone can talk about right now. He’s the premier prospect in all of mixed martial arts. The three time NCAA Champion made a huge statement on the Contender Series with a 62 second finish. Nickal is great under pressure and it translates well to mixed martial arts. Today, I want to take a short look at the finish and see how Nickal set up the choke on his opponent, Zachary Borrego.
Early in the fight Borrego came out and threw a half hearted flying knee that saw him taken down by Bo Nickal. The double leg was perfectly done and you can tell that Nickal is not far removed from his wrestling days at Penn State. While this moment was nice and seeing Nickal control the head of Borrego was also encouraging, it is the finish that I want to take a few moments of your time to talk about.
Bo Nickal Controlling and Disarming Borrego
On the Contender Series, Bo Nickal showed control that we seldom see in mixed martial arts. We’ve seen Olympians come in and do well on the ground. Henry Cejudo, Daniel Cormier, and others have made careers out of their spectacular wrestling pedigrees in MMA. But by and large, true wrestling in the UFC isn’t all that great outside of the Khabib and Islam’s of the world who have adapted combat sambo to MMA quite effectively.
Against Borrego, Nickal had already drug him back to the ground and against the fence. As mentioned on the broadcast by Laura Sanko, Nickal was a bit too high on Borrego’s back and if he put his hooks in, Borrego could have shaken him off and exited out the back. But Nickal was smart and didn’t put himself in that position. Instead, he set up his choke and didn’t give Borrego much of a way to fight it. Let’s take a closer look.
By keeping both of his feet planted and his chest to Borrego’s back, Nickal didn’t give his opponent any room to escape. To keep from being completely taken down, (1 from the diagram above) Borrego is down on one knee and posts with his right hand. (2) He goes to fight the hands of Bo Nickal and Nickal would adjust. Knowing that Borrego is posted on his right hand, Nickal grabs the left hand of Borrego with his own left to control the hand. This control sets up the finish for Nickal.
With Borrego posted on his right hand and his left hand controlled by Nickal, Borrego leaves the choke open. Nickal knows this and executes. (3) With his right hand, which is free, Nickal begins to position the choke. Borrego cannot fight the choke positioning with his left hand because Nickal has it controlled. (4) If he tries to fight it with his right hand, which is posted, he gets flattened out by Nickal. It’s a lose-lose situation for Borrego.
Bo Nickal isn’t in there to have a long fight. Get in, get out, get paid, as the old saying goes. (5) Once his right arm is where he feels like he can complete the choke, (6) Nickal lets go of the left hand of Borrego which he’s controlled to this point. It’s a race of the hands and Nickal has the advantage. He knows when he’s going to let the hand go and Borrego is left to simply react to Nickal letting go. This gives Nickal the advantage and he beats Borrego to the choke.
Nickal cranks down and eventually, as we know, Zachary Borrego is forced to tap. Nickal is simply a step ahead of him when it comes to grappling and, while Nickal wasn’t given the contract, gave a good account of himself and showed on the biggest stage yet that he could very well be the next big contender at 185.Become a Patron!