Bo Nickal is undefeated as a professional MMA fighter with four wins in a span of nine months following a wildly successful college wrestling career where he became a three-time NCAA Division I champion. Fellow UFC middleweight prospect Caio Borralho isn’t impressed.
Borralho, who faces Michal Oleksiejczuk in the co-main event of Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 72 event, said on a recent episode of MMA Fighting podcast Trocação Franca that Nickal is yet to be tested in mixed martial arts.
“Too much hype, man. Too much hype,” Borralho said of Nickal. “I hate hype. I hate when people say I’m hyped or anything like that because it’s not hype, it’s hard work. Hype is what happened to [Raul Rosas Jr.], him saying he’d become champion in three divisions. He fought a guy that isn’t a grappler and lost in the grappling area. Hype ends eventually. And I think Bo Nickal is only hype.”
Nickal went 2-0 in amateur MMA bouts before turning professional in June 2022, stopping John Noland in just 33 seconds prior to a pair of victories over Zack Borrego and Donovan Beard on Dana White’s Contender Series. Nickal finished Jamie Pickett in his UFC debut this past March, and now faces Tresean Gore at UFC 290 on July 8. All six MMA wins, amateur and pro, came in the first round.
“I won’t give him too much attention because he can barely move on the feet, his style is so ugly,” Borralho said. “Both of his Contender fights, he fought guys that I have no idea where they came from, and then fought Pickett in his UFC debut, a guy that lost four of his previous six fights. It’s too much hype for such low level. It’s undeniable what he has done in wrestling, of course, but it’s too much hype [in MMA]. I don’t know why the UFC does that sometimes. That ends fighters because they don’t know what’s real. I don’t know how much he fools himself.
“He’s fighting Tresean Gore now, a guy that lost two of his last three and only has six MMA fights. He’s at Bo Nickal’s level. That’s the level of guy he should fight. I don’t think he’s ready to fight anyone at my level, not even guys close to the top 20.”
Borralho is 3-0 under the UFC banner against Makhmud Muradov, Armen Petrosyan and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. The Brazilian middleweight also holds two DWCS victories against Aaron Jeffery and Jesse Murray. Borralho co-headlines a UFC event for the third time Saturday and said “I’m not interested” in facing Nickal anytime soon.
“If he fights three more times and wins those three fights and do I nothing, I stay where I am, cool, we can fight, but I don’t see a point,” Borralho said. “My path is clear, my plan is set. I plan on fighting Michal, a guy that’s coming off two great knockouts at middleweight and was ranked top 15 at light heavyweight before, and then fight a top 15 guy.
“I’ll probably call out Kelvin Gastelum in the post-fight interview. I’m more interested in fighting Gastelum or any other guy in the top 15 than Bo Nickal. He has to show more.”