clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UFC on ESPN 1: Breaking down Francis Ngannou’s 26-second knockout!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight hitters Cain Velasquez and Francis Ngannou threw down last night (Sun., Feb. 17, 2019) at UFC on ESPN 1 inside Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

His time away from the sport — 31 months — is a ridiculous amount of time to be away from the cage, a sign that the injuries Velasquez dealt with were far more than nagging. Nevertheless, Velasquez did not want a soft re-introduction back to active combat: the former champion wanted a top contender. Look no further than Ngannou, a terrifying knockout artist who challenged for the strap just about a year ago and entered this bout with momentum. It was a potential title eliminator match for each athlete, and there were clear paths to victory for each man.

For the second time in three months that I’ve been tasked with writing about a Francis Ngannou main event, yet the massive Cameroonian gives me little to talk about.

Velasquez opened the fight moving his head and aiming at the lead leg, but Ngannou denied him his target. On Velasquez’s first attempt to throw punches, Ngannou made his intentions clear by fully committing to a right hand. It missed, but it looked like his recent kill shot opposite Curtis Blaydes.

Likely realizing that he would die if that right hand landed, Velasquez ducked down into a single leg shot, somewhat absorbing a 1-2 on the way in. With his back to the fence, Ngannou used his hips and an underhook to create space, shoveling in an uppercut towards Velasquez’s jawline. Velasquez’s knee gave out grotesquely, and a couple follow up shots brought about an official end.

It lasted 26 seconds (watch it).

What’s there to say really? Ngannou hits unbelievably hard. If his right hand touches you, you go down. Blaydes and Velasquez are both incredibly tough wrestlers who did not want to go down early and knew they hard to survive the dangerous moments early. Neither man survived the opening minute.

A common talking point before those recent two wins is that Stipe Miocic exposed Ngannou. That’s true to an extent, as Miocic showed Ngannou had weaknesses to his game and areas to improve. However, Miocic also had to perform perfectly and fight for five rounds — and he still absorbed some shots that could have put him to sleep!

Ngannou is a threat to anyone he fights ... and he will be for a long time.

Unfortunately, the quick result does leave us without any new information on Ngannou’s development. He didn’t need to show anything different to win, which is scary.

This is the worst possible result for Velasquez — the absolute worst I could imagine, actually. Velasquez did not get to show off his skill or feel how he stacks up to current competition. He was stopped in the first round. He potentially tore his knee again. Worse still, it all happened in front of a crowd that loved him and wanted to see him thrive. Hopefully, Velasquez’s knee is okay and he can return quickly, because he needs to bounce back from this loss quickly if he wants to remain relevant.

Last night, Francis Ngannou scored another lightning fast knockout. Is Ngannou ready for another title shot?

For complete UFC on ESPN 1: “Velasquez vs. Ngannou” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania