That MMA Show

UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez

Composed by: Alex Minor



On Sunday, 2/17/19, the UFC showcased a compendium of MMA gems at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona for the first card aired exclusively on the ESPN network. At the top of the card, Cameroonian juggernaut, Francis Ngannou, took on former champ/arguable Heavyweight GOAT, Cain Velasquez, in his first bout back in over two years of absence. Considering Velasquez’ former level of greatness prior to a string of injuries, fans and analysts alike wondered what fashion the former champ would return in. Would Cain arise new and improved, hungry for a chance to conquer the division again, or would he arrive old and withered, weakened physically and mentally from years of forced inactivity? For Francis “The Predator” Ngannou, this bout was a chance to prove that he was back with a vengeance after losing two of his last three fights. Ngannou had most recently defeated rising contender, Curtis Blaydes, in devastating fashion. Nevertheless, a win over the legendary Cain Velasquez would put the feared knockout artist right back in a position for title contention.

When this “Clash of Titans” finally commenced, it seemed as though the battle finished as soon as it began. Cain came out throwing a few kicks to keep distance. When Cain backed too close to the fence, Ngannou closed in to throw some big punches, but Cain immediately reached for a single. Ngannou immediately shucked the attempt off with a strong under hook. Then, Cain immediately tried to shoot back in for a double. Before Cain could secure the legs, Ngannou caught Cain with a short uppercut, seemingly causing Velasquez’ knees to buckle, resulting in a split. Cain fell to the floor in agony, while Ngannou continued to drop a couple of bombs on Cain’s dome, forcing the referee to step in with only 26 seconds having transpired.

Since the conclusion of the fight, Cain and others have made the case that his loss was merely due to a freak knee injury he sustained whilst trying to shoot on Ngannou. On the other hand, Ngannou and many others have made the case that Cain’s knees buckled as a result of the short uppercut Ngannou landed right before Cain’s collapse. Despite the reason, many fans felt a bit unsatisfied with the briefness of the bout. Cain’s return has been long awaited and highly anticipated. Moreover, fans wanted to see how well Ngannou would fair in an extended bout with a grinding wrestler like Cain Velasquez. The fact that the fight ended so quickly has left a lot of lingering questions in the minds of the MMA community. Is Cain past his prime? Was the fight a fluke? Is Ngannou just that good?

Fortunately, it seems that Cain Velasquez has no intention of hanging up his gloves at the moment. Therefore, we should soon find out where Velasquez really stands when he steps into the octagon once more.

As for Ngannou, there is a lot of speculation as to whom he should take on next. In his post-fight press conference interview, Ngannou proclaimed that he believes Heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier, should “Avenge his teammate” by taking him on. Daniel Cormier provided a fiery response to “The Predator”, stating that he “Wouldn’t fight Ngannou”, he would “Beat him”. However, despite the mutual interest between both men, Dana White has revealed that he has another fight in mind for Cormier upon his return. Ngannou was also asked about a potential fight with former champion, Stipe Miocic, who has also been heavily campaigning for a title shot since his lost to Cormier. Ngannou expressed interest in this fight as well, seeing as Miocic gave him his first UFC loss in their title bout the year prior. Only time will tell whom “The Predator” will prey on next, but it is clear that when Ngannou is on, he is at the top of the food chain.




Official Results

  • Francis Ngannou def. Cain Velasquez via KO/TKO (punches) 0:26 into rd. 1
  • Paul Felder def. James Vick via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Cynthia Calvillo def. Cortney Casey via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Kron Gracie def. Alex Caceres via SUB (Rear Naked Choke) 2:06 into rd. 1
  • Vicente Luque def. Bryan Barberena via KO/TKO (Punches/Knees) 4:54 into rd. 3
  • Andre Fili def. Myles Jury via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Aljamain Sterling def. Jimmie Rivera via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Manny Bermudez def. Benito Lopez via SUB (Guillotine) 3:09 into rd. 1
  • Andrea Lee def. Ashlee Evans-Smith via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Nik Lentz def. Scott Holtzman via DEC 5:00 into rd. 3
  • Luke Sanders def. Renan Barao via KO/TKO (Punches) 1:01 into rd. 2
  • Emiliy Whitmire def. Aleksandra Albu via SUB (Rear Naked Choke) 1:01 into rd. 1

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