It looks like fans won't have to wait much longer to see former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez get back in the Octagon for a fight. According to ESPN's Ariel Helwani, a match between Velasquez and Francis Ngannou is in the works for the UFC card on February 17, 2019, from Phoenix.
Helwani took to Twitter to break the news:
"UFC is in serious talks to book Cain Velasquez vs. Francis Ngannou as the main event for UFC Phoenix on Feb. 17, according to multiple sources. The fight isn't finalized just yet, sources say, but is currently moving in the right direction."So while it appears that ink hasn't hit the paper as far as officially signing the fight, it looks quite likely that it will go down.
So far, only two fights have been officially added to the UFC Phoenix card according to the UFC's website. There's Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel and Lauren Murphey vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith.
However, with the cancelation of UFC 233, MMA Junkie is reporting that the following fights are going to appear on the card:
- Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling
- Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Lauren Murphy
- Jodie Esquibel vs. Jessica Penne
- Cynthia Calvillo vs. Cortney Casey
- Paul Felder vs. James Vick
- Alexandra Albu vs. Emily Whitmire
- Manny Bermudez vs. Benito Lopez
- Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie
- Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury
- Scott Holtzman vs. Nik Lentz
The event will be the UFC's first to air on ESPN as part of its new broadcast deal. It takes place at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona on February 17, 2019.
Cain Velasquez has been out of action for quite some time. His last fight was a win over Travis Brown at UFC 200 in 2016. He has missed time due to multiple injuries that have kept him out of action, but it appears that he's finally ready to step back in the cage. He has a professional record of 14-2, with his losses coming to Fabrício Werdum and Junior dos Santos.
Francis Ngannou has been far more active in recent months, having fought three times in 2018. He defeated Curtis Blaydes in November and lost to Derrick Lewis and Stipe Miocic before that. He rose to the forefront of the MMA world with a stunning knockout of Alistair Overeem in December 2017. Ngannou's record is 12-3.