It’s been just over six months since Nick Piccininni’s MMA debut on UFC FIGHT PASS. So how has the Oklahoma State alum transitioned from the mat to the cage in less than a year’s time?
After the two time All-American graduated, Piccininni packed his bags and went to Gilroy, California. Training at AKA and coaching at Gilroy High School with Daniel Cormier paid off immediately. Piccininni booked his first professional fight with Xtreme Fight Night 371 and took less than two minutes to handle business.
Not only would Piccininni get a flawless takedown but he would unload ground-and-pound that may have been felt all the way back in Stillwater.
Chance Wilson could only take so many shots before giving up his back, giving up his neck and tapping out.
Although Piccininni came out of the fight without a scratch, he opted not to rush things. After a six-month break, Piccininni was back in the cage, not with a brand-new set of tools, but a hell of a lot sharper versions of the tools he already had in his belt.
“I just worked on everything,” Piccininni said. “Basically, I worked on my overall martial arts skill. My jiu jitsu, my striking, my grappling, my wrestling. I worked on becoming a better full MMA fighter.”
Even with a slight step-up in competition, Piccininni was too much for his next opponent. Poor Joe McCormick was an even quicker night for the 25-year-old.
“I knew I’d get him to bite on my fakes,” Piccininni said. “I knew to follow up with my right hand and finished with a takedown. Once I got him to the ground, I threw my legs in and got back control. I tried to get a rear naked choke but he fought that off so I did a little bit of peppering on his head and transitioned to full mount and locked up an arm triangle.”
Admittedly feeling more dominant than his last outing, Piccininni was all smiles minutes after his second win but also all business.
“I think all around I’m going to have to work on everything,” Piccininni said. “I don’t think in this sport you can just be good enough at one thing to relax. With this, you need to work on literally everything. This is a humbling sport. If you lay off in any area, somebody’s going to catch up.”
He’s had top-notch training behind him his whole life, he’s got the blue collar mentality it takes and he’s got all the physical tools to excel in mixed martial arts, but Piccininni says it’s his killer instinct that is what will keep him in the upper echelon he’s been comfortable in for years.
According to Piccininni, the crowd is already taking note and it won’t be long before the buzz around him is impossible to ignore.
“To be honest, it’s just the truth, you can hear it in the crowds,” Piccininni said. “Everyone can hear it, everyone understands it. I’m an up and comer and I think everyone needs to start paying attention.”
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