The UFC’s first official ESPN card goes down this Sunday, February 17, at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
The UFC on ESPN 1 event will be capped off with a highly intriguing heavyweight matchup when former UFC champ Cain Velasquez steps back in the Octagon to face terrifying power puncher Francis N’Gannou.
At one point in time, Velasquez was revered as one of, if not the baddest man on the planet, but the heavyweight great has had a career plagued by injuries and inactivity. He has only fought twice since 2013, and the last time we saw Velasquez in the cage, he stopped Travis Browne with ground strikes at UFC 200 back in 2016.
His opponent N’Gannou took the UFC by storm, showcasing insane stopping power in his hands which expedited his route to the title. Ngannou stopped six-straight opponents before getting his title shot against the then champ Stipe Miocic. That fight exposed a lot of holes in the wrestling I.Q. of N’Gannou as he was dominated on the ground for the majority of 25-minutes. With Velasquez being such a phenomenal wrestler, it’s interesting to see how much the takedown defense of N’Gannou has improved, versus how much Velasquez has deteriorated over the years.
In the co-main event, two very exciting top-tier lightweights will more than likely be banging it out when the #10 ranked James Vick knucks with polished tech-striker Paul Felder.
Since getting his promotional start on the TUF 15 season, Vick has posted an impressive 9-2 record with the UFC. Lately, Vick has really been making the most of his 6’3” frame at 155-pounds. He typically towers over his opponents, and has the reach and long punches to keep his opponents at bay. Having more submission wins than knockout victories, the ground game of Vick is quite underrated, and that might be because of “The Texecutioner’s” thirst to keep the fight on its feet.
His counterpart, Felder, will more than likely oblige Vick in a standup war. Felder has shown off some impeccably polished Muay Thai skills. His defense is tight, his knees are piercing, and his elbows straight finish fools. In three of his last four UFC outings, Felder has dropped his victim with a strike from the clinch, and then and then proceeded to smash them with elbows until the referee stopped the fight. It’s probably safe to say that Vick vs. Felder is going to be fireworks!
The UFC on ESPN 1 main card will air live on ESPN at 9:00 P.M. ET with the prelims starting at 7:00 P.M. ET also on ESPN. The early prelims will begin at 5:30 P.M. ET on ESPN+.
Check out all the ways you can watch the action below:
- If you are in the Phoenix area and want to see the fights live, then you can get tickets Ticket Master.
- The first three fights of the night are available exclusively on ESPN+ beginning at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT.
- The rest of the prelims will air on ESPN, beginning at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT. The main card will start on ESPN at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT.
- Almost every major cable or satellite provider offers ESPN in either standard or high definitions.
- Those with Android or Apple devices can watch UFC on ESPN 1 on the ESPN app available at the Google Play and iTunes stores.
- If you feel like going out, you can watch UFC on ESPN 1 at the following bars and/or restaurants. If you do go out, don’t forget to tweet us picture @BloodyElbow of you and your crew enjoying the show!