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Two heavyweight titans of UFC are set to collide on Sunday night, and you don’t even need to order pay-per-view to watch. In fact, you can easily watch a live stream of Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez by signing up for a free trial for any of the live TV streaming services that offer ESPN.
In May 2018, ESPN inked a five-year deal with UFC worth $1.5 billion to stream 30 UFC Fight Night events per year. While 20 of those are reserved for ESPN+, the network’s new subscription service—which is where you’ll find this event’s prelims—this is the first marquee event that will actually air on ESPN.
This is a huge fight for both Ngannou (12-3-0) and Velasquez (14-2-0). The Cameroonian-French Ngannou had a rough 2018, losing via unanimous decision to Stipe Miocic in a bout for the heavyweight title at UFC 220 and then to Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 in July. But he closed the year on a high note, defeating Curtis Blaydes in the main event at UFC Fight Night 141 in late November, and he still has unbelievable punching power.
Velasquez hasn’t fought in two years, but I wouldn’t expect too much rust. He’s one of the best heavyweights to step into the Octagon. While Ngannou might be the favorite, if the bout extends beyond the second round, the advantage tilts toward Velasquez, thanks to his superior endurance and reach.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch UFC Fight Night on ESPN.
Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velasquez
- When: 9pm, Sunday, Feb. 17
- Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena
- Streaming: ESPN
Ngannou vs. Velasquez live stream: How to watch UFC Fight Night for free
Nearly every major live TV streaming service carries ESPN—including PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now—and starts with a seven-day free trial. To figure out your best bet, you’ll want to look at the other channels included for each service, the cost, and devices you can stream from. We’ve outlined the essential info below.
1) Sling TV
- Cost: $25-$40 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Sling TV devices: Amazon Fire TVs, Android Fire Stick, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Xbox One, Google Chromecast, Oculus Go, and iOS and Android devices
- Sling TV local channels: NBC, Fox (check your local availability here)
Sling TV offers the cheapest way to watch ESPN online. Its Sling Orange package ($25 per month) offers ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3, but it’s worth noting that you can only stream from one device at a time. That’s one of several reasons why you should consider opting for the Sling Orange + Blue ($40 per month), which boasts all of the same channels as Sling Orange but lets you stream from four devices simultaneously and adds a ton more channels, including FS1 and FS2, and local affiliates for Fox and NBC. (Here’s a complete guide to Sling TV channels and our Sling TV review.)
- Cost: $44.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
- Hulu local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)
No service offers better value than Hulu with Live TV, which provides more than 50 fantastic channels and the best on-demand library of TV shows anywhere, in addition to original series like The Handmaid’s Tale, documentaries, and plenty of adult cartoons and anime. Oh, and free cloud DVR. Need more convincing? Check out the best new movies on Hulu. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.)
3) YouTube TV
- Cost: $49.99 per month (after a 7-day free trial)
- YouTube TV devices: Google Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Xbox One, iOS and Android devices
- YouTube TV local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)
What separates YouTube TV from competitors is that it’s basically a family plan: Each subscription lets you add up to six accounts, and all of those get unlimited cloud DVR. If you’re looking to split a subscription, YouTube TV is your best bet. (You can find the full list of YouTube TV channels here.)
- Cost: $4.99 per month or $49.99 for 12 months (after 7-day free trial)
- Devices: Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablet, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku players and TV, Oculus Go, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung smart TVs, and iOS and Android devices
To be clear, you can’t watch Ngannou vs. Velasquez on ESPN+. Only the prelim bouts (outlined below) will be available on the service, but considering how UFC Fight Night events are coming to ESPN+, now is a good time to get acquainted. Plus, to unlocks a ton of other live sports programming and the full 30 for 30 library.
UFC on ESPN live stream schedule
Main Card | 9pm on ESPN
- Francis Ngannou vs Cain Velasquez
- James Vick vs. Paul Felder
- Cortney Casey vs. Cynthia Calvillo
- Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie
- Vincente Luque vs. Bryan Barberena
- Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury
Preliminary Card | 7pm on ESPN
- Jimmie Rivera vs. Alijamain Sterling
- Benito Lopez vs. Manny Bermudez
- Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Andrea Lee
- Scott Holtzman vs. Nik Lentz
Early Prelims | 5:30pm on ESPN+
- Jessica Penne vs Jodie Esquibel
- Renan Barão vs. Luke Sanders
- Aleksandra Albu vs. Emily Whitmire
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Willow, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
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Austin Powell is the former managing editor of the Daily Dot. His work focuses on the intersection of entertainment and technology. He previously served as a music columnist for the Austin Chronicle and is the co-author of The Austin Chronicle Music Anthology.