Former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is ready to make his long awaited return to the Octagon where he’ll face Francis Ngannou in the main event for the first major UFC card on ESPN on Feb. 17 in Phoenix.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the fight to ESPN on Friday night.
Velasquez will making his first appearance since UFC 200 in 2016 when he dished out a vicious first round TKO against Travis Browne.
Since that time, Velasquez has been dealing with injuries that have kept him sidelined for more than two years but now he appears healthy and ready to resume his career.
Velasquez will also have a chance to headline the first ever major UFC card on ESPN nearly eight years after he headlined the first ever UFC on FOX card in 2011.
Unfortunately on that night he suffered a knockout to Junior dos Santos and he’ll try to avoid that same fate when taking on another heavy handed fighter this time around.
Ngannou will look to put himself back into title contention when he fights in February following a stunning first round knockout against Curtis Blaydes in November.
The highly touted Cameroonian was talked about like he was the future of the heavyweight division until he suffered a grueling five round loss to Stipe Miocic back in January. He then followed that up with a lackluster outing against Derrick Lewis in July that made many wonder if he’d ever climb back up the ladder again.
He answered that question rather emphatically with the knockout against Blaydes and now Ngannou will attempt to do the same to Velasquez when they clash in February.