After over two years on the sidelines, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is getting the wheels in motion to make his much-anticipated return to mixed martial arts (MMA).
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Cain will likely throw down against Francis Ngannou at the upcoming UFC on ESPN 1 event, which is set to go down on February 17, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.
UFC is in serious talks to book Cain Velasquez vs. Francis Ngannou as the main event for UFC Phoenix on Feb. 17, according to multiple sources. The fight isn't finalized just yet, sources say, but is currently moving in the right direction. https://t.co/ujYDrFevm4— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 14, 2018
Cain’s last action inside the eight-sided cage was at UFC 200 in July of 2016, where he defeated Travis Browne via first round knockout in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to that, Velasquez lost his 265-pound title to Fabricio Werdum after “Vai Cavalo” submitted him in Mexico City.
Much has been made about the former 265-pound champion’s extended absence from the sport, but it recently came to light the contract negotiations may have stalled his return. That, apparently is all behind UFC and Cain.
As for Ngannou, he is coming off a 45-second knockout win over Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night 141 in Beijing, China just last month (see it). The win put “The Predator” back in the win column after suffering back-to-back defeats to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.
The matchup will be interesting to say the least, as Francis makes his bread in the standup department, while Cain is known for his outstanding wrestling skills. Though he isn’t opposed to a battle on the feet.
Care to offer up your early predictions?