Despite being just three fights into his professional MMA career, Bo Nickal should already be considered the favorite against Israel Adesanya. The UFC middleweight champion should be on high alert, insists Henry Cejudo.
The NCAA Division I wrestler has appeared twice in Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) and each time proved just how easily he has adapted to the sport. His two viewings at the Apex have showcased his wrestling ability, heavy hands, and almost flawless submission game. This potentially makes him a problem for the elite at 185lbs.
Henry Cejudo sang the wrestler’s praises, claiming that he is a stylistic nightmare for current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. He went so far as to say Nikal would beat the New Zealander given the chance.
“Those who don’t think Bo Nickal is the real deal, I’m [going to] tell 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.”
Although he has dealt with it well throughout his career, ‘The Last Stylebender’ continues to be targeted by grapplers as it remains the weakest part of his MMA game.
In true movie-like fashion, Adesanya has the chance to avenge his two previous kickboxing losses when he collides with long-term foe Alex Pereira in the UFC 281 headliner on November 12.
Check out what Henry Cejudo had to say about Bo Nickal and the UFC middleweight division in the video below.
Israel Adesanya’s history fighting grapple-heavy opponents
Israel Adesanya has had to deal with his fair share of grapplers inside the octagon and has done reasonably well for somebody who would supposedly be easy to handle in the wrestling department.
Marvin Vettori employs a heavy grappling style, but was unable to defeat the kickboxer on two occasions. Derek Brunson is known for drowning opponents with his wrestling, but was picked apart and finished by the 33-year-old.
One man able to control the middleweight king on the ground was the much heavier Jan Blachowicz following Adesanya’s venture up to light heavyweight. While he is experienced at fending off grapplers, he has never faced anybody at the level of Bo Nickal, potentially making for an intriguing fight down the line.