The UFC’s first most important occasion on ESPN tv belonged to French-Cameroonian heavyweight Francis Ngannou.
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Ngannou knocked out two-time UFC champion Cain Velasquez in simply 26 seconds on Sunday evening in Phoenix. It was Velasquez’s first look in 953 days, and it might show to be a heartbreaking return.
What’s subsequent for Ngannou, Velasquez and the opposite stars of UFC Battle Evening? Here is ESPN’s take.
Francis Ngannou, heavyweight
Consequence: Defeated Cain Velasquez by way of first-round KO
Subsequent: Stipe Miocic (for the vacant heavyweight championship)
Let me clarify that second half. So, Daniel Cormier is the present heavyweight champ, proper? And nobody appears to know precisely what number of fights he has left, proper? Nicely, let Cormier have his fantasy/cash heavyweight title protection towards Brock Lesnar (assuming the UFC can, actually, get Lesnar to come back again) after which ask him (politely, however forcefully) to drop the heavyweight belt.
At that time, Cormier can both retire or head again to 205 kilos for yet one more go at Jon Jones (which he is mentioned he is open to do). And in addition at that time, you unencumber the heavyweight belt, which is de facto what Miocic and Ngannou are gunning for. Everyone wins.
Francis Ngannou lands a fast combo to the pinnacle of Cain Velasquez earlier than the previous champ’s knee offers out early in Spherical 1.
Cain Velasquez, heavyweight
Consequence: Misplaced to Francis Ngannou by way of first-round KO
Subsequent: Alexey Oleynik
Nothing occurs till we discover out the severity of the knee damage Velasquez apparently suffered on Sunday. To the MMA powers that be: Please, do not let it’s important. Velasquez deserves to be wholesome, and the game deserves to see him wholesome. Do not take him from us once more.
Cain Velasquez’s extremely anticipated return proved to be short-lived, as Francis Ngannou knocked out the previous two-time heavyweight champion in simply 26 seconds Sunday at UFC Battle Evening in Phoenix.
Forward of UFC Battle Evening: Phoenix’s most important occasion between Cain Velasquez and Francis Ngannou, the cardboard had a mess of essential undercard matchups. Here is what went down.
Supplied Velasquez can return in an inexpensive period of time, Oleynik is sensible as his subsequent opponent. Oleynik is just not a layup. He isn’t a gimme. He could also be 41 years outdated, however he is 6-2 since signing with the UFC in 2014, and he is been asking the promotion to give you a path for him.
Oleynik deserves to battle somebody like Velasquez. And Velasquez deserves a battle that is not towards a Francis Ngannou kind. The UFC threw him to the wolves in his first battle since July 2016. Now it is wonderful to take a step again. Oleynik is a official foe, however he is additionally manageable for somebody coming off a future of inactivity.
Consequence: Defeated James Vick by way of unanimous resolution
Subsequent: Winner of Edson Barboza vs. Justin Gaethje on March 30
Nice callout on Felder’s half. It is a bummer Felder will not be capable of battle on that March 30 card in Philadelphia (his hometown), however having him in attendance with the understanding he’ll battle the winner is the next-best factor. In fact, this depends upon his restoration time from the collapsed lung he suffered in Sunday’s battle.
Felder fought Barboza as soon as earlier than, in 2015, and it was wonderful. Barboza received a really tense unanimous resolution. I would definitely watch a rematch — to not point out a Felder-Gaethje bout, if Gaethje is victorious on March 30.
The light-weight division is chaos, as regular, and there are many names on the high that have to be sorted out. Within the meantime, a battle between Felder and the March 30 winner would proceed to assist set up a pecking order. And it might be a darn good time.
Paul Felder and James Vick commerce strikes all through however it’s Felder who comes out with the unanimous resolution win at UFC Battle Evening.
Consequence: Defeated Alex Caceres by way of first-round submission
Subsequent: Darren Elkins
Completely stealing this reply from Dominick Cruz, who talked about it in my dialog with him on ESPN MMA’s post-fight evaluation on Sunday. It is excellent. Gracie says he is prepared for a High 10 man, however I do not know if matchmaking must be that aggressive.
Elkins is a man who has been within the High 10 however has fallen out after back-to-back losses to Alexander Volkanovski and Ricardo Lamas. He’d be an actual take a look at for somebody like Gracie — a very good mix of expertise and defensive grappling. Reserving a battle towards him additionally would not be dashing Gracie too quick, too quickly.
Gracie needs to be again as quickly as potential, and Elkins at present has nothing on the books. Signal me up.
Consequence: Defeated Jimmie Rivera by way of unanimous resolution
Subsequent: Winner of Cody Garbrandt vs. Pedro Munhoz on March 2
I have been singing the praises of “Aljo” so much over the past two years, and I am not about to cease now. This was a comparatively dominant efficiency by Sterling. Based on UFC Stats, Sterling out-landed Rivera in complete strikes 101 to 24. Grappling is the strongest a part of his sport, however he did not want a single takedown on this win.
Sterling is an issue for the highest of this division. I wholeheartedly consider that. I do know he misplaced to Marlon Moraes by way of knockout three fights in the past, however that does not imply I’ll write him off towards elite competitors. He received caught by a really harmful striker. And he seems to have grown from it.
The winner of the UFC 235 assembly between Garbrandt and Munhoz goes to be very extremely ranked. The champ, TJ Dillashaw, has his arms full with potential fights towards Henry Cejudo and Moraes. Sterling vs. Garbrandt or Munhoz for a future title shot is an apparent name.