Former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will finally make his return to the Octagon at UFC on ESPN 1, where he takes on heavy hitting knockout artist Francis Ngannou in the main event at Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix, Arizona.
The bout was first reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani earlier this month, and UFC president Dana White confirmed the matchup to ESPN on Friday evening.
Breaking: Dana White confirms Cain Velasquez vs. Francis Ngannou will headline UFC Fight Night on Feb. 17 in Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/4x83IrosOB— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 22, 2018
Velasquez, now 36, hasn’t fought since his first-round mauling of Travis Browne at UFC 200, back in 2016. The wrestling powerhouse has been riddled with injuries and has fought just four times in the past five years. Velasquez was once considered the most dominant heavyweight champion in the UFC, and the fan favorite will look to return to top form in February.
Ngannou, 32, snapped a two-fight losing skid last month when he knocked out rising heavyweight prospect Curtis Blaydes in the UFC Fight Night 141 main event. After his uninspiring loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 226, fans were beginning to question whether Ngannou had lost his mojo, but ‘The Predator’ proved against Blaydes that he is still one of the most dangerous heavyweights in the division.
UFC on ESPN 1, not to be confused with UFC on ESPN +1, takes place next year, February 17 in Phoenix, Arizona.