MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 2/18: Cain Velasquez says his knee gave out on him in finishing sequence against Ngannou, Dana White knows Cormier’s next challenger, more UFC Phoenix post-fight notes

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Feb 17, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) reacts after knocking out Cain Velasquez (blue gloves) during their heavyweight bout during UFC Fight Night at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Ngannou won via first round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


Cain Velasquez went down and lost quite quickly to Francis Ngannou at UFC Phoenix Sunday night. It appeared that Velasquez was rocked early by a flurry of punches and perhaps a knee, but he claims his knee gave out on him, causing him to go down and ending the fight.

“He didn’t even, like, touch me,” Velasquez said at the post-fight press conference (via MMAJunkie). “It was just the knee. As soon as I felt the knee buckle, it was like I couldn’t believe that happened, and that was it.”

Velasquez’s career has been plagued by injuries, so if he legitimately injured his MCL as he is speculating, it could be devastating to his career.

Despite the poor performance, Velasquez is staying confident.

“We’ll get it all checked out. The fire’s strong in me again still. I guess I’ve got a lot to prove, and I’m very capable of doing that.”

Who’s Next?

Francis Ngannou made his case for a second crack at the UFC heavyweight title with a 26-second win over Cain Velasquez at UFC Phoenix. Speaking to ESPN after the fight last night, UFC president Dana White admitted that Ngannou is back in the mix but currently, he has other things in mind for current champion Daniel Cormier.

“Well yeah, Francis is there,” White said (via MMAFighting). “Cormier’s hurt right now and we have another fight lined up for Cormier first so, we’ll see how this whole thing plays out.”

Dana White couldn’t provide a timeline for Cormier’s return so he wasn’t ready to give up a name, but apparently, it’s not Ngannou. Let the speculation begin.

Monday Notebook

Daniel Cormier told SportsCenter he was “disappointed” to see Cain Velasquez go down in 26 seconds last night. I thought he was ready to fight. And I felt like he was ready to win this fight. You just cannot control some of the things that happen. He hurt his knee. And also you’re fighting a big, powerful guy like Francis. There’s no room for error.”

Dana White told TMZ that Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone is “not even close” to being made.

Francis Ngannou said of Brock Lesnar, “He’s just walking around talking (expletive), but he never shows up for a fight.”

Ariel Helwani reported that Paul Felder suffered a collapsed lung towards the end of his fight with James Vick last night.

-Post-fight bonuses went to Vicente Luque, Bryan Barbarena, Kron Gracie and Luke Sanders for Performance of the Night.

-A.J. McKee vs. Pat Curran is booked for Bellator 221 on May 11 from Rosemont, Ill.

In case you missed it

BELLATOR 216 POST FIGHT NOTES: Roy Nelson escorted from arena by police, Cheick Kongo gives angry interview, a new female star emerges

Fights to Make Next after Bellator 215




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