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Cain Velasquez-Francis Ngannou to headline February UFC on ESPN event

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez headlined the first-ever UFC main event on Fox and will now headline the first-ever main event on ESPN.

UFC president Dana White confirmed to ESPN's Brett Okamato late Friday night that Velasquez will face former title challenger Francis Ngannou in the main event of the February 17th UFC Fight Night event in Phoenix -- the first full card set for ESPN "linear" TV.

The 36-year-old has been on the shelf since defeating Travis Browne at UFC 200 in July 2016. Injury-prone, Velasquez (13-2) has only fought twice since 2015.

The 32-year-old Ngannou (12-3) is coming off a first round TKO win over Curtis Blaydes last month, snapping a two-fight losing streak that saw him dominated (a January heavyweight title fight vs. Stipe Miocic) and an embarassing decision loss to Derrick Lewis in July in which he barely threw any punches. 

Velasquez was in the main event of the UFC's maiden voyage on another network -- Fox -- back in November 2011 when he lost the heavyweight title to Junior dos Santos in just 64 seconds.

The UFC will debut on ESPN+ in January, officially kicking off a five year deal.