'A king-sized showdown': Former UFC champ Cain Velasquez returns to face Francis Ngannou in Phoenix
Velasquez vs Ngannou headlines the UFC's debut event on ESPN in the United States as the world's biggest MMA organization looks to make a splash with a spectacular heavyweight main event.
And with both men eyeing a future world title opportunity, the bout should deliver a crowd-pleasing contest with all-action wrestler Velasquez, 36, taking on spectacular knockout artist Ngannou, 32, in a heavy-duty clash of styles at the top of an exciting card of fights on Sunday night in Arizona.
ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL
"I just know that I have what it takes to beat everybody."
Ominous words from Velasquez, who returns from a three-year hiatus this weekend saying he's a vastly-improved fighter. Considering how good he was before injuries took him out of the game following UFC 200, that's a scary thought for the rest of the division.
Velasquez at his best is, quite simply, the best heavyweight in the world. And while he has vowed never to fight his friend and current heavyweight world champ Daniel Cormier, he also knows 'DC' is set to hang up his gloves later this year.
And when Cormier does, Velasquez will be ready to return to the throne once again.
"I know I can get back to that greatness of being the heavyweight champion again - and I will," he said.
NGANNOU'S ADVICE: DON'T BLINK
"This fight won't go longer than the first or second round."
Ngannou's power is just about the scariest thing in the UFC today, with his knockout threat leaving a trail of destruction in his wake, and he says that power will be the deciding factor in Sunday night's main event.
Ngannou's knockouts of Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem showed just how devastating his punch power can be, but he was also exposed for a lack of wrestling when he was dominated over five rounds by then-UFC world champion Stipe Miocic in his world title challenge.
That win over Blades - also a noted wrestler - followed as Ngannou bounced back in spectacular fashion. If he can starch Velasquez, Ngannou will be right there in the mix for a shot at the heavyweight title once again.