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UFC on ESPN 1: Cain Velasquez returns against Francis Ngannou

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (14-2-0) will return to the octagon for the first time since 2016 against top contender Francis Ngannou (12-2-0) at UFC on ESPN 1 Feb. 17 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Velasquez, 36, hasn’t fought since a win over Travis Browne at UFC 200 in July 2016 and only four times since May 2013 due to various injuries. After watching AKA teammate and training partner Daniel Cormier capture the light heavyweight and heavyweight belts, he is likely more anxious to return than ever before.

Meanwhile, Ngannou, 32, is trying to rebuild another run to a title shot; it started with an impressive win over Curtis Blaydes at UFC Fight Night 141 in November.

UFC on ESPN 1 is scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Talking Stick Resorts Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. Current bouts include:

Cain Velasquez (14-2-0) vs. Francis Ngannou (12-2-0)

Jimmie Rivera (22-2-0) vs. Aljamain Sterling (16-3-0)

Jodie Esquibel (6-4-0) vs. Jessica Penne (12-5-0)

More bouts are expected to be announced.

@kenaiandrews

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Kenai is a former Postmedia Network news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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