Francis Ngannou Stops Cain Velasquez in 26 Seconds at UFC on ESPN 1

By Mike Sloan Feb 17, 2019

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Cain Velasquez had been out for two-and-a-half years, but he lasted only 26 seconds Sunday night in the main event of UFC on ESPN 1.

Francis Ngannou was merciless against the former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion and ended things with a flurry of punches. Velasquez (14-3) missed a wild kick to the head and then tried taking the Cameroon native down, but Ngannou unloaded a storm of punches as Velasquez crumbled in a heap.

Replays showed that Velasquez’s knee gave out on him when Ngannou (13-3) landed a vicious right uppercut to the jaw and he never recovered. No word on whether Velasquez has severe knee damage or not as of this writing.

Felder Bounces Back, Edges Vick

Paul Felder bounced back from a heartbreaking loss to Mike Perry in July by toppling fellow contender James Vick (13-3). “The Irish Dragon” used excellent movement and timely punching to the head behind a savage leg attack to earn a unanimous decision win.

Felder (16-4) rattled Vick’s dome with several hard overhand rights, but he did most of his damage by kicking “The Texecutioner’s” legs into oblivion. Vick never stopped trying to turn the tables on the Philadelphian, but Felder stuck to a nearly flawless gameplan to thwart the taller man’s attacks. Felder won via scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.

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Calvillo Inches Closer to Contention

It may not have been the most exciting fight on the card, but strawweight contender Cynthia Calvillo (8-1) did just enough to outpoint the much taller Cortney Casey-Sanchez over three rounds.

Calvillo landed timely punches to the head and sporadic leg kicks to offset most of what “Cast Iron” tried, and in the end, Calvillo won via tallies of 29-28 (twice) and 30-27. Casey fell to 8-7.

Gracie Dazzles in Octagon Debut

It didn’t take long for Kron Gracie to make it look like UFC 1 as he easily vanquished Alex Caceres via submission early in the first.

A son of Rickson Gracie, Kron took “Bruce Leeroy” down moments into the contest, seized his back immediately and sunk in a rear-naked choke. Caceres (14-12-0-1) tried to fend it off but couldn’t, and eventually had no choice but to tap out. The end came just 2:06 into the fight, allowing Gracie to move to 5-0 in what was his UFC debut.

Luque Finishes Barberena in FOTY Candidate

Vicente Luque had to be wondering what sort of granite was hiding underneath Bryan Barberena’s beard because he hit him with everything he had. And he did it dozens upon dozens of times. Luckily for bloodthirsty MMA fans, Barberena (14-6) did the same thing to Luque, which made for nearly three rounds of madness inside the Octagon.

The two welterweights stood toe-to-toe for nearly 15 minutes, slamming punches and elbows into each other’s heads, one landing as much as the other. The amazingly violent war finally came to an end when “The Silent Assassin” landed back-to-back knees to Barberena’s jaw, dropping him. Luque (15-6-1) immediately swarmed “Bam Bam” with punches until referee Jason Herzog pulled him off, ending the brutality at 4:54 of the third.

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‘Touchy’ Fili Upsets Jury

Andre Fili bounced back from a loss over the summer by outpointing Myles Jury in the opening bout of the UFC on ESPN 1 telecast. “Touchy” used superior footwork and a beautiful left jab to nullify most of what Jury tried over three rounds at featherweight.

Fili (19-6) busted up Jury’s nose in the first and as the blood continued to pour, the Sacramento fighter never stopped throwing his jab. “Fury” dropped Fili in the second with a spinning backfist, but other than that, Jury (17-4) never got things going. In the end, Fili won the judges’ verdict via scores of 29-28 across the board.

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