UFC Fight Night on ESPN makes its television debut Sunday, February 17, featuring a main event heavyweight showdown between No. 3-ranked Francis Ngannou and returning, former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez. Ascending UFC lightweights square off in the co-main event with No. 10-ranked James Vick taking on Paul Felder.
The event will be live from Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz., and available exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes in the U.S., with main card bouts beginning at 9 p.m. ET and prelims beginning at 7 p.m. ESPN+ will feature an additional 1.5 hours of early prelims beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET.
One of the greatest heavyweights of all time makes his return to the Octagon, as former UFC champion Cain Velasquez battles feared knockout artist Francis Ngannou in a five-round showdown. In the co-main event, James Vick, who has won four of his last five fights, will attempt to reclaim his position as a top contender in the lightweight division as he faces off against Paul Felder, an aggressive striker, who is aiming for his fourth-consecutive lightweight victory.
Calling the live action will be lead play-by-play man, Jon Anik, alongside former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz as the color commentator. The desk team will be on site featuring analysis from former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping. Karyn Bryant will serve as host and Megan Olivi will handle reporting duties. Production for all UFC events on ESPN and ESPN+ is provided by UFC. UFC’s Spanish-language commentary for UFC Fight Night on ESPN will be provided by UFC athletes Victor Dávila (play-by-play), Fabricio Werdum (analyst) and Brandon Moreno (analyst).
ESPN+ will feature the exclusive UFC Fight Night Pre-Show to give fans all the information they need to get ready for Sunday’s event. The Pre-Show will be on-site in Phoenix and available on ESPN+ beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 16. ESPN+ will also feature the exclusive UFC Fight Night Post Show, live immediately following the event.
On the ESPN App and ESPN.com fans can turn to MMA Fightcenter, the new live, data-driven digital experience featuring live fight statistics (including strikes – by significance and body region, time in control, takedowns, and more), fight cards for every fight from UFC events, fighter profile cards and more. Each Fight Night, MMA Fightcenter will visualize the strikes and damage absorbed by fighters through dynamic color-represented animations, providing fight fans an innovative companion experience to the live event.
ESPN.com will also release an exclusive feature on Cain Velasquez as he returns from his extended layoff, plus a complete guide to the fight from Brett Okamoto. Okamoto will also be in Phoenix and provide on-site coverage throughout the weekend.
UFC fans can tune in Thursday night on ESPN for a special presentation of Cain’s best career moments in the Octagon. Starting first at 9 p.m. ET with UFC Unleashed: Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar, fans can relive the historic championship bout for the UFC heavyweight title. Then at 10 p.m. ET, UFC Main Event: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3 recaps the legendary trilogy in a winner-take-all rubber match for the UFC heavyweight crown.
On fight day, Sunday, February 17, fans can also tune in all day long on ESPNEWS starting at 12 p.m. ET featuring a full replay of December’s UFC 232 PPV, featuring Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 and Nunes vs. Cyborg followed by historic Velasquez fights (against Brock Lesnar, Bigfoot 2 and Dos Santos 3) before he returns to the Octagon.
On ESPN+, UFC is always on – 24/7/365 – with anytime access to more than 200 hours of high-quality, on-demand UFC content. ESPN+ also brings fans the original weekly series, Ariel & The Bad Guy, featuring MMA journalist and insider Ariel Helwani and professional fighter Chael Sonnen. Fans can also watch episodes of the groundbreaking new documentary series UFC: Destined, exclusively on ESPN+, which this week features Gracie vs. Caceres (Part 1). Part 2 will debut in the days following the event, featuring behind-the-scenes access during and after the outcome of the fight.
The ESPN social team will again bring fans images, stories and information throughout the week and weekend, on the @ESPNMMA handles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.