The resurgence of Francis Ngannou was overshadowed by the possible end of Cain Velasquez’s future in the octagon. A mere 26 seconds was sufficient to put close out the main event.
Velasquez, the former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, had been out of action since he knocked out Travis Brown on July 9, 2016.
Without a doubt, it was a great knockout by the Cameroonian-French – connecting with an uppercut after countering Velasquez’s take-down attempt. Slow motion video replays show that Velasquez’s neck snapped to the right and he was likely to be lights out as his left knee buckled and eventually crumpled from both the punch and his knee giving way.
The former champ then covered his head while Ngannou began to unload strikes on his downed opponent, referee Jason Herzog only allowed two huge tags before stopping the fight.
“I promise you guys, I’m back. As I’ve said before, I’m back and you are going to see me around again. I told you I had some surprise for you and I hope you like it.” said Ngannou after the fight.
“[The finish] was very fast so I didn’t even realize what happened. It was very fast. I felt good and I’m just here to have fun and relax and enjoy my fight.
“I’ve been waiting for this fight since two years ago because I know I needed a challenge of the likes of Cain to prove myself.”
— UFC (@ufc) February 18, 2019
Ngannou suffered back-to-back defeats last year, and was falling down the pecking order in his division. Some critics suggested that the former number one contender was done, broken and washed-up. His title bout against Stipe Miocic was always regarded as fault of inexperience but his following fight against Derrick Lewis was a circus show that nobody deserved to witness. His inability or reluctance to engage Lewis in combat was admitted later by him, as a psychological scar from the Miocic loss – where he was completely dominated through all five rounds.
Nevertheless, Ngannou accepted his vulnerability and embraced it finally turned the tide in November of 2018, taking out Curtis Blaydes in 45 seconds.
On his loss, Velasquez was more than just shocked.
“I just can’t believe that happened,” said Velasquez.
“I had a great camp coming in. Truly, everything I said before (the fight) about how strong I felt, that was all true. I felt great out there, relaxed and then taking that one step with my left foot, something popped and then when I tried to take another step, it gave out on me, my knee just gave out on me. I can’t even believe that happened.”
“Going in (I was) 100 percent healthy, 100 percent ready and just to have this freak accident, I can’t even believe it. It’s just hard. But that’s sports. That’s what we do. That’s what happens sometimes. It’s just really frustrating.”
The former champion said that the uppercut wasn’t what put him down or ended the fight. He blamed his body for the quick finish.
“It was just the knee, yeah,” said Velasquez. “He didn’t even touch me. It was just the knee. As soon as I felt the knee buckle, I couldn’t believe that happen and then that was it.”
Velasquez said he was unsure of the extent of the injury or how long it would keep him out of action, but he said he felt like he belonged back in the octagon and that everything felt great until his knee betrayed him.
“I guess I got a lot to prove and I’m very capable of doing that,” said Velasquez.Leave a comment