PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT: Bo Nickal (3-0-0)
The phenom Bo Nickal, three-time NCAA wrestling champion turned professional mixed martial artist, is poised to make his UFC debut tonight at UFC 285. Nickal is expected to take care of his opponent Jamie Pickett easily, being a historically significant favorite at over -2000. The pair was initially supposed to fight three months ago in December at UFC 282 when Nickal pulled out, but after a quick recovery, he’s ready to go. The expectations are sky-high and for good reason, as I expect a first-round finish in dominating fashion for the middleweight prospect.
FIGHT OF THE NIGHT: Mateusz Gamrot (21-2-0) Vs Jalin Turner (13-5-0)
In 100% honesty, this may be one of my favorite matchups ever. Mateusz Gamrot and Jalin Turner are two of the most well-rounded fighters the Lightweight Division has to offer, and both are at a point in their career where they’re feared and dodged at all costs. When you get two guys at that stage against one another, it’s bound to be a classic. The amount of pure ability and technique being locked in the cage between Turner and Gamrot is unbelievable, and I can essentially guarantee that we’ll be treated to three rounds or less of top-tier entertainment. Dana White will send both of them home with an extra 50K dollars as a thank you.
UNDERDOG OF THE NIGHT: Derek Brunson (23-8-0)
Blonde Brunson is back in action after more than a year off to stop the hype train of South African middleweight Dricus Du Plessis. Brunson last fought at UFC 271, being knocked out in violent fashion against Jared Cannonier, and since then, has taken time away from the Octagon to get himself in the right mentality to resume fighting. Personally, I believe Du Plessis is taking a huge step-up in competition, with Brunson being the best (established) wrestler in the Middleweight Division. Even if Brunson gets hurt tonight, I see him outworking Du Plessis to the point of cardio deciding the fight. Don’t be surprised to see him get the win.