Bo Nickal is taking a step up into the ranks of the pros.
At the upcoming Jorge Masvidal’s iKon Fighting Federation event, Nickal (0-0) will make his professional MMA debut when he takes on John Noland (0-0) in a middleweight bout. The card takes place June 3 at Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va. and streams on UFC Fight Pass.
Nickal, 26, went 2-0 as an amateur after he entered the world of MMA with his debut in September 2021. Both of his fights ended inside the distance with one first-round submission and one violently devastating knockout.
Spotlighted long before his MMA career kicked off, Nickal was a three-time Division-I national champion and three-time Big Ten conference champion for Penn State. He won a national championship and an under-23 world championship, both in 2019 in the 92kg (202.8-pound) weight class. He finished college with a 120-3 record, including a combined 61-0 record in his junior and senior years.
In 2019, Nickal earned the 2019 Dan Hodge Trophy, an accolade awarded to the nation’s best wrestler. He also twice won the Schalles Award, an honor given to the nation’s best pinner. In addition, in 2019 he was named Big Ten Athlete of the Year. Nickal is a blue belt in jiu-jitsu and trains at American Top Team in South Florida.
As for his opponent, Noland, who has also gone by the name John Conner, is 36 years old and based out of Alabama. He has a 6-3 record as an amateur, but has lost three of his most recent four outings. Three of his six amateur wins have come inside the distance with two submissions and one stoppage due to strikes.