Vinc Pichel may no longer be in his prime, but he can still pose a significant challenge for ambitious lightweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Having made it to the semifinals in Season 15 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, Pichel is set to return to the Octagon after a hiatus of over a year. The 40-year-old fighter will go head-to-head with Ismael Bonfim during the featured attraction at the UFC Fight Night 231 even on Saturday, located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Even though he is a standout from Factory X, he’s coming back after a unanimous decision defeat to former Olympic silver medalist Mark O. Madsen in April 2022. Nevertheless, “From Hell” has an impressive record, with more than half of his 14 professional victories coming from knockout or technical knockout.
His performance has been strongly influenced by some of his previous bouts. For instance, Rustam Khabilov of Jackson-Wink MMA left a lasting impression during his promotional debut, wherein he knocked out Pichel via a belly-to-back suplex and follow-up punches. This fight, part of ‘The Ultimate Fighter 16’ Finale undercard, ended for Pichel in just over two minutes into round one, without Pichel being able to offer any significant offense. Another influential rivalry was with Anthony Njokuani. The World Extreme Cagefighting veteran was at the receiving end of Pichel’s powerful takedowns and strikes which resulted in a unanimous decision in Pichel’s favor at UFC 173 in May 2014.
Pichel’s battle with former NCAA wrestling champion Gregor Gillespie, however, ended in defeat by an arm-triangle choke in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 131. Despite multiple takedowns and consistent pressure from Gillespie, Pichel could not find an escape and had to tap out. His fight against longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jim Miller, on the other hand, marked a significant rebound for Pichel – overcoming a slow start and excelling in grappling exchanges, he claimed a unanimous decision at the featured UFC 252 prelim in August 2020, continuing to position himself as a late-bloom contender in the UFC’s lightweight division.