The return of Cain Velasquez did not go well Sunday night, as the former UFC champion suffered a first round loss to Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC on ESPN 1. Velasquez went down with a barrage of shots from Ngannou, which was coupled by his left knee bending in an awkward direction as he hit the canvas.
Velasquez has missed ample time due to injuries, as this was his first fight since UFC 200 in 2016 when he topped Travis Browne, the husband of WWE Raw champion Ronda Rousey. He won his first UFC heavyweight title with a finish of Brock Lesnar.
Also on the ESPN main card, Paul Felder bested James Vick, Cynthia Calvillo topped Cortney Casey, Kron Gracie submitted Alex Caceres, Vicente Luque finished Bryan Barberena and Andre Fili downed Myles Jury.
The Luque and Barberena welterweight affair made history, landing second on the all-time UFC list for significant strikes behind only a three-round battle between Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz.
Among those picking up prelim wins were Aljamain Sterling, Andrea Lee and Nik Lentz. Former champion Renan Barao was finished by Luke Sanders in the second round.
This marked the third consecutive night of MMA action between the UFC and Bellator after Bellator ran back-to-back cards Friday and Saturday night from Connecticut on Paramount Network and DAZN.
Complete results are below:
* Francis Ngannou def. Cain Velasquez via KO (strike) at :26 of Round 1
* Paul Felder def. James Vick via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
* Cynthia Calvillo def. Cortney Casey via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
* Kron Gracie def. Alex Caceres via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:06 of Round 1
* Vicente Luque def. Bryan Barberena TKO (strikes) at 4:54 of Round 3
* Andre Fili def. Myles Jury via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
* Aljamain Sterling def. Jimmie Rivera via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
* Manny Bermudez def. Benito Lopez via submission (modified guillotine choke) at 3:09 of Round 1
* Andrea Lee def. Ashlee Evan-Smith via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
* Nik Lentz def. Scott Holtzman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
* Luke Sanders def. Renan Barao via KO (strike) at 1:01 of Round 2
* Emily Whitmire def. Aleksandra Albu via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:01 of Round 1