Francis Ngannou Calls for Title Shot After Finishing Cain Velasquez in 26 Seconds
That’s all it took for Francis Ngannou to finish former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez by knockout in the first ever UFC Fight Night on ESPN main event.
It was a stunning result after so much hype surrounding the contest going into Sunday night with Velasquez returning for the first time in more than two years and Ngannou looking for a statement win to prove he’s ready for title contention once again.
The fight played out in rapid-fire fashion with Velasquez shooting out of the gates and immediately coming after Ngannou in the opening seconds.
Ngannou began throwing his sledgehammer-like punches and rather than tasting the power any further, Velasquez rushed forwards to press the action against the cage.
Unfortunately during the exchanges while rushing forward, Ngannou began clubbing away at Velasquez before the fighters ended up against the fence.
That’s when Ngannou uncorked a short right hand that twisted Velasquez’s head to the side and the former champion dropped from the shot as his knees buckled underneath him.
As Velasquez fell to the mat, he screamed out in pain from the knee and Ngannou wasted no time following him to the ground as he blasted away with punches until the fight was stopped.
— UFC (@ufc) February 18, 2019
Replay showed Ngannou connecting with the short right hand, which then called Velasquez to fall as his knees buckled underneath him. Velasquez limped out the Octagon but said later at the post fight press conference that he would have to wait to visit with his doctors before determining how serious the knee injury might be.
As for Ngannou, he earned his second first round knockout in a row after finishing Curtis Blaydes last November and now he’s added a two-time former heavyweight champion to his resume as well.
“I promise you guys, I’m back, as I said before, I’m back,” Ngannou said after his win. “You will see me a lot, I hope you enjoyed it.”
After the event ended, Ngannou made it clear that a win over a former champion like Velasquez coupled with his last knockout against Blaydes should be enough to put him back into title contention.
It also doesn’t hurt matters that current heavyweight king Daniel Cormier is teammates and close friends with Velasquez, who was just finished by Ngannou in under 30 seconds.
“I think he should come avenge his teammate,” Ngannou said when sending a message to Cormier at the post fight press conference.
As for Velasquez, he was obviously disappointed by the outcome but didn’t seem deterred from his long terms goals to get back in action once he figures out what happened to his knee in the fight.
“I felt super ready for this fight. This is why this sport is so great. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m truly sorry for this,” Velasquez said.
Velasquez has watched so much of his career taken away due to injuries so he will hope for the best possible outcome from his potential knee injury as he looks to return to action again in 2019.