UFC Fight Night 163 Preview and Picks: Can Alexander Volkov Get Back In the Win Column Against Greg Hardy?

Forbes Finance 1 month ago
UFC Fight Night Zabit v Kattar: Weigh-Ins
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 08: Alexander Volkov of Russia poses on the scale during the UFC Fight ... [+] Night weigh-ins at CSKA Arena on November 08, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Greg Hardy has fought four times in 2019. His record in those bouts is 2-1 with one no contest. Of those four outings, Hardy’s pay has been disclosed once. That was for his second fight with the UFC, which Hardy won by TKO. The former NFL player earned $150,000 for that contest. As far as UFC pay goes, that's on the high end. Jim Miller, who has is tied for first in UFC career fights with 33, earned $180,000 for his 32nd UFC fight. Hardy's fifth fight of the year takes place on Saturday when he faces the No. 7 ranked UFC heavyweight, Alexander Volkov. 

Hardy was not initially scheduled for UFC Fight Night 163. He stepped in on short notice to accept this fight after former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos pulled out of the bout due to illness. Hardy is a +220 underdog heading into the contest, while Volkov is a -280 favorite.

Green would be the best way to describe Hardy's skillset. He is very much a work in process. He's prone to what could generously be labeled as mistakes inside the octagon. He lost his first UFC fight when he landed an illegal knee to a downed opponent. His no contest came in his most recent bout when he used an inhaler in his corner before the final round of the fight. The only reason the odds are as close as they are for this contest is because it's a heavyweight fight. This means the one thing Hardy does possess — power — could be the one thing that earns him a win.

Volkov is better than Hardy in ever aspect of MMA. On paper, he should easily earn the victory, but again, a heavyweight fight can turn on a dime. Volkov knows that. He was cruising to a decision victory over Derrick Lewis in his most recent bout when Lewis caught him and knocked him out with 11 seconds left in the contest. That loss ended Volkov's winning streak at six fights. 

Hardy has been getting matchups which were designed for him to win. The fact that the UFC would put him in a bout against someone like Volkov could mean that they think he has a chance to earn an upset victory. On the other hand, this booking could be a signal that the UFC is going to let the chips fall where they may at this point in Hardy's career and let him sink or swim on his own. I would like to believe it's the latter because the way the promotion has been handling his career is unseemly, especially when you consider the circumstance that landed him in MMA in the first place.

In 2014 Hardy was found guilty of assault and making threats to a former girlfriend by a Mecklenburg County, North Carolina judge. Hardy appealed that conviction and asked for a jury trial. The charges against Hardy were dismissed and expunged from his criminal record before the start of that 2015 trial when Hardy's former girlfriend refused to cooperate with prosecutors.

UFC Fight Night 163 takes place Saturday at CSKA Arena in Moscow. The prelims begin at 11 a.m. ET on ESPN+, the main card follows on ESPN+ at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Pick: Volkov

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Forbes › Finance › 1 month ago
Alexander Volkov faces Greg Hardy in the co-main event of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 163, which tales place in Moscow and streams on ESPN+.
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