Cain Velasquez Credits Ngannou’s Punch for UFC Phoenix Loss

Francis Ngannou Cain Velasquez
Image Credit: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Investigation #Kneegate has officially closed.

At UFC Phoenix in February, Cain Velasquez made his Octagon return after a three-year sabbatical, only for Francis Ngannou to abruptly end Velasquez’s comeback story with a first-round knockout. There was an awkward ending to the fight, though, with many believing that it was Velasquez’s knee buckling that generated the fight’s outcome, not Ngannou’s punch.

This belief was instilled by Velasquez himself, who made the claim that his falling and the fight’s subsequent ending was due solely to his knee giving out, with Ngannou’s punches having no effect on the outcome. But after rewatching the video, Velasquez has walked backed those claims and knows what led him to believe the punch did not land: temporary unconsciousness.

“The second punch, when I went in for that takedown, the one that was kind of behind the ear, I was out on my feet, and I didn’t know it at the time,” Velasquez told ESPN. “But I was out on my feet and, as I wake up, I’m falling down, and the pain from the knee on my way down is what woke me up.

“So I thought, oh, shit, my knee just gave out, like some freak accident. And I really had to look at the tape where he hit me. Because going into the takedown, the last thing I remember is feeling the back of his knee with my left hand. That’s the last thing I remember. And that’s like, ‘I’m in. I’m in.’ And then, he hit me with that shot. And then, from there, I don’t remember anything until I go down on my knee, and that’s what woke me up.”

Are you surprised by Cain Velasquez’s realization that Francis Ngannou knocked him out at UFC Arizona?