Bo Nickal (1-0) is in a bit of an unusual situation here.
An accomplished and decorated wrestler, he’s suddenly main eventing a (DWCS) Contender Series card in what is only his second professional MMA bout. A win here — especially a very decisive one — could land him in a very nice spot on the main roster of a middleweight division that could use some bolstering. His wins as a professional have come by a submission and the other two via strikes, so he’s not some one-dimensional wrestler or by-the-numbers wrestleboxer. This kid could be a massive threat in short order, but you get to see him here first.
And it seems like all things are leading to an eventual win for Nickal, considering his opponent Zack Borrego (3-0) doesn’t have nearly the same background. Plus, he missed weight for this fight, which is not a great sign. Borrego is a massive underdog here for very, very good reason. 3-0 on the Texas circuit can be respectable, especially with some amateur fights under your belt. But it’s a rough road ahead for him against Nickal.
Jamal Pogues (8-3) has toiled around in Bellator, Gladiator Challenge and LFA, and has fought a mixed bag of opponents. A decent sprawl and some heavy hands have been his allies for some time, and moving back up to heavyweight (after a Contender Series win in 2019) might be his ticket to finally getting into the UFC.
To do that, he needs to defeat Paulo Renato Jr (10-1), a Brazilian brawler that is also heavyset and hits pretty hard. But as (almost) always, there’s major red flags here.
Renato’s got a not-so-impressive record, though. Fighting guys that are 6-9, 6-10 and 6-14 makes you wonder what he’s ready for. Pogues is athletic enough and packs some firepower, so Renato needs to dig deep here to earn a win.
Edgar Chairez (8-3) has been a terror on the Mexican scene, and recently was seen on Embedded training with his friend Brandon Moreno. He’s lanky but has snappy punches, great lateral movement and long-guy submission work.
His opponent is Clayton Carpenter (get your Clay Guida jokes in now, please). Sitting pretty at 5-0, he’s got a very, very complete skillset with his submissions and strikes. Carpenter trains out of the MMA Lab in Arizona, and has fought some decent opposition in his time as a pro.
This ought to be fight of the night in my mind, no question. Both would be excellent additions to the flyweight division, which is in need of an infusion at this point.
Here’s highlights of the weigh-ins courtesy of the crew over at MMAJunkie:
Full card is as follows:
Bo Nickal (186.0) vs. Zachary Borrego (187.5)* - Middleweight
Jamal Pogues (248.5) vs. Paulo Renato Jr. (221.0) - Heavyweight
Erik Silva (146.0) vs. Anvar Boynazarov (144.0) - Featherweight
Edgar Chairez (124.5) vs. Clayton Carpenter (125.0) - Flyweight
Sandra Lavado (116.0) vs. Karolina Wojcik (115.5)