ROUNDTABLE: Staff predictions for Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Francis Ngannou (photo credit Ron Chenoy © USA Today Sports)

Who will win Sunday’s main event between Cain Velasquez and Francis Ngannou?

Sean Covington, Columnist – Covington’s Corner

Francis Ngannou will be dominated by wrestling once again until he catches Cain with a very brutal, unexpected shot and that will be it for Cain Velasquez’s relevancy and his career will soon follow. Cain has more cage rust on him than something at Antique Roadshow; ultimately it will be his undoing….along with his dollar tree -glass jaw. Cain’s jaw would shatter if he went to a Mariah Carey concert.

Frank Hyden, Columnist – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I’m going with Ngannou, but I really want to go with Velasquez. The problem is, I just don’t know what Velasquez is going to look like after so much time away. This is where I use that old joke about Velasquez being on the shelf longer than a dented tomato can, but he has been out for a long time. You think about how little he’s fought due to injury issues lately and I just wonder how he’s going to be able to just come in and fight a guy like Ngannou. I know Ngannou had that dog of a fight against Derrick Lewis but he’s still an extremely dangerous man.

How do you replicate fighting conditions in practice and training? And is Velasquez going to be able to trust his body and that it won’t fail him again? If Velasquez can pull this off, it’s going to be so incredibly impressive. I just can’t see it, I think it’s too much of an ask to have him come in and beat a guy the caliber of Ngannou. I think Ngannou stops him in the third round after a big flurry.

Christian Moore, MMATorch Contributor

I gotta think Ngannou. I’ll pick Ngannou, but Velasquez could also get it done. We’ll know very quickly. If the fight gets to the ground, Velasquez obviously wins, probably finishing him quick. But, every fight starts on the feet and two things lead me to lean towards Ngannou. 1st, Velasquez has been finished quickly so it can happen, it has been done. 2nd, look at Ngannou’s last fight. He fought a guy who only grapples, yet KO’d him quickly. So my guess, Ngannou finishes Velasquez within 2 minutes, but if the fight makes it past 1-2 rounds, Velasquez gets the easy win.

Gary Meigs, MMATorch Contributor

I see this fight going to the ground and that’s not where Francis Ngannoou is very comfortable. Caine Velasquez gets the victory rather easily.

Michael Hiscoe, MMATorch Managing Editor

I think a lot of people are sleeping on Cain Velasquez here. I can’t hold the layoff against Velasquez because last time he fought after a lengthy layoff, he obliterated Travis Browne straight to the front row of every WWE pay-per-view.


Velasquez has the tools to overwhelm Ngannou and negate his power. Much like Stipe Miocic did, I expect Velasquez to push the pace for the full 25 and take a fairly dominant decision win.

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