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UFC on ESPN Results: Ngannou vs Velasquez main event ends in shocking 26-second TKO

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News
18 Feb 2019, 11:50 IST

Ngannou vs Velasquez: Image courtesy: www.mmafighting.com
Ngannou vs Velasquez: Image courtesy: www.mmafighting.com

What's the story?

Heavyweight knockout artist Francis Ngannou faced the two-time former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez in his return to competition after a hiatus of more than 2 years in the main event of UFC on ESPN 1 held in Phoenix, Arizona on February 17, 2019.

Ngannou handed a bitter welcome back to the former champion as he finished Velasquez in just 26 seconds of the opening round via TKO.

In case you didn't know...

The two-time former UFC Heavyweight Champion and widely regarded as one of the greatest Heavyweight fighters of all time, Cain Velasquez made his much-awaited return to the Octagon in the main event of UFC on ESPN 1 to face the former title challenger Francis 'The Predator' Ngannou.

Velasquez last fought in the UFC way back on the marquee UFC PPV event, UFC 200 in July 2016 wherein he fought and finished Travis Browne in the very first round. Cain Velasquez has been battling injuries ever since his last performance which had delayed his return to competition and resulted in a break of almost 3 years.

In Velasquez's absence from competition, the MMA world witnessed the rise of the phenomenal talent and the scariest knockout artist in the world that is Francis Ngannou. Ngannou made his UFC debut in December of 2015 and quickly rose to the top of the heavyweight division by racking up one knockout after another.

Ngannou faced former champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 where he lost a 5 round decision and Miocic exposed a chink in the armour of Ngannou by putting up a wrestling clinic. Ngannou lost his following fight as well to Derrick Lewis via decision, an appalling performance which led many to believe that 'The Predator' might be all but done in the UFC.

However, Ngannou bounced back to knockout Curtis Blaydes in the 1st round in his last performance and set him up to return the former champion Velasquez in his lost awaited return.

The heart of the matter

The fight ended almost as soon as it began and left the whole MMA world in shock as Francis Ngannou finished the former champion Velasquez in just 26 seconds of the 1st round in his patented style of a vicious TKO.

Cain Velasquez entered the fight as a slight favourite on the cards as many believed that Velasquez would employ his elite calibre wrestling to defeat Ngannou, much like the former champion Miocic did.

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The two heavyweights met in the centre of the octagon as Cain attempted to close range on Ngannou, only to be met by a counter 1-2 by 'The Predator'. The combination stunned Velasquez who then changed levels and went for a double-leg takedown, but Ngannou was quick to react and immediately stopped the attempt and landed some vicious strikes in the exchange.

Velasquez's legs gave out in what apparently is also a knee injury. Velasquez mentioned the same in his post-fight interview and attributed the injury to be the main cause of the stoppage.

Watch the stoppage here below.

What's next?

Francis Ngannou just shocked the world by finishing the consensus greatest UFC Heavyweight Champion in a matter of seconds and has set himself up for a second crack at the UFC title in his next fight.

Ngannou has bounced back from his two losses to deliver back to back finishes in his last two fights and has erased all doubts as to whether he has championship calibre. Velasquez's good friend and teammate Daniel Cormier holds the UFC Heavyweight title.

With Ngannou officially back on track, it won't be surprising to see him back in title contention soon.

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