Velasquez has struggled with various injuries since losing the belt to Werdum in June 2015, and has only fought once since then, a TKO win over Travis Browne at UFC 200 in 2016. He said at the weigh-ins that his road to the top “starts tonight.”
Ngannou, who recently fought for the title at UFC 220 in January 2018, likely has other plans.
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
MAIN CARD (9PM ET/6PM PT)
ANDRE FILI (18-6-0) VS. MYLES JURY (17-3-0)
Andrews: Close fight. I’m going with the skills of Jury to edge out Fili.
Andrews Prediction: Myles Jury via SD
VINCENTE LUQUE (14-6-1) VS. BRYAN BARBERENA (13-5-0)
Andrews: I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Barberena pulled it off, but I have to go with the aggressiveness and finish rate of Luque. He is going for it.
Andrews Prediction: Vincente Luque via TKO
ALEX CACERES (14-11-0, 1NC) VS. KRON GRACIE (4-0-0)
Andrews: Caceres obviously needs to keep the fight standing, but can he? I think he can Bruce Leroy always makes things interesting.
Andrews Prediction: Alex Caceres via UD
CORTNEY CASEY (8-6-0) VS. CYNTHIA CALVILLO (7-1-0)
Andrews: Calvillo made weight and I think she will break down Casey eventually and use the grappling and ground game to grind out a decision.
Andrews Prediction: Cynthia Calvillo via UD
JAMES VICK (13-2-0) VS. PAUL FELDER (15-4-0)
Andrews: Vick is looking to make up for his last fight, but he needs to be careful with Felder. Felder is lethal in the clinch and the chin and body of Vick cannot take too many of Felder’s big shots. “The Irish Dragon” prevails.
Andrews Prediction: Paul Felder via TKO
#3 FRANCIS NGANNOU (12-3-0) VS. CAIN VELASQUEZ (14-2-0)
Andrews: Cain will be rusty, but will get take the starch out of Ngannou to the ground if he can withstand the first round.
Andrews Prediction: Cain Velasquez via TKO