This Sunday, the Octagon touches down in the desert, as Cain Velasquez will make his return against Francis Ngannou in the headlining bout of UFC on ESPN 1 in Phoenix.
Sure, many fans are going to be tuning in on Sunday to see if Cain Velasquez can return to his former form, but in all honesty, all 13 fights slated for the event are solid. Case in point: former bantamweight champion Renan Barão is competing in the second fight of the night.
That being said, there are several other reasons to tune in this weekend. Let’s get to it.
James Vick and Paul Felder Finally Collide
These two men will finally meet in the co-main event on Sunday evening.
Both James Vick and Paul Felder are coming off of loses. “The Texecutioner” is rebounding from a brutal knockout at the hands of Justin Gaethje last August. Coincidentally “The Irish Dragon” was the color commentator the night Vick suffered that KO.
Felder lost a decision to Mike Perry in the welterweight division in his last fight.
Neither man can afford another loss in the ridiculously talent-stacked lightweight division. This one should be fun.
Someone’s 0 Has To Go: Manny Bermudez Vs. Benito Lopez
Both Bermudez and Lopez are 24 years old, and both carry unbeaten records with them to Phoenix at 13-0 and 9-0 respectfully. However, someone’s zero must go.
Bermudez most recently defeated Davey Grant back in July of 2018 while Lopez beat Albert Morales in December. Which man do you think will leave the cage with another win?
The UFC’s 5,000th Fight
Whether it was by design or dumb luck, if the fight docket for UFC on ESPN 1 stays the way it is now, Kron Gracie will make his promotional debut against Alex Caceres in the 5,000 UFC fight.
Like his uncle Royce, Kron is an accomplished BJJ practitioner. Unlike his uncle, Kron can throw his hands. He doesn’t mind standing and trading with his opponents in the least bit. Perhaps that’s a byproduct of his relationship with the Diaz brothers.
Cain Velasquez Vs. Francis Ngannou
This is a fight that both casual fans and die-hard fans alike can get hyped for.
Velasquez is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters to have compete in MMA, if not the best flat-out. Ngannou, however, is perhaps the hardest puncher in the division’s history. Either way something has to give.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/14/2019.