Reports from ESPN stateside have suggested that Hardy is set to step in to replace former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos, who was reportedly pulled from the main event matchup due to a bacterial infection in his leg that left him hospitalized as he received treatment.
With Hardy's imminent arrival on the fight card, UFC officials have taken the decision to adjust the bout order at the top of the bill, with Dagestan featherweight star Zabit Magomedsharipov's matchup against American Calvin Kattar now set to headline the event in a three-round main event on November 9.
Breaking: “When is Greg Hardy going to take a step up in competition?” The answer is Nov. 9, as he’s agreed to replace Junior dos Santos against Alexander Volkov in Moscow. According to Hardy’s agent Malki Kawa, this was at his request. More soon at @espn. pic.twitter.com/pgb1wUMXL5— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 22, 2019
Alexander Volkov vs. Greg Hardy will be the co-main event in Moscow. Nov. 9 main event is now Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar, however due to the short notice, it will remain a three-round fight.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) October 22, 2019
The news may serve to pile on the frustration for Francis Ngannou, who had hinted online earlier on Tuesday that he might be keen on stepping in on short notice to take on the former Bellator heavyweight champion.
But instead the UFC has opted to draft in Hardy, who drew more controversy at UFC Boston when he was captured on camera using an inhaler between rounds – and act that led to his win over Ben Sosoli being adjudged a no-contest.
The American, whose checkered past – including a conviction for domestic abuse which was later quashed on appeal – cut a dejected figure during his post-fight press conference and appeared particularly disappointed to have let down his bosses at the UFC.
In accepting a short-notice assignment halfway around the world in Moscow, Hardy will hope to appease the UFC's top brass, while also taking his chance to knock over one of the heavyweight division's top contenders.
The news has been met with a strong response online, with fans seemingly queueing up to throw their support behind Russian star Volkov.
"Let's go... Russia?" tweeted one fan, while another tweeted a GIF of WWE superstar Rusev pulling into an arena in a tank with a Russian flag with the message: "Suddenly I love Russia".
Let’s go… Russia??— Tanner ???????????? (@TDorow10) October 22, 2019
Suddenly I love Russia pic.twitter.com/zlmXelnuSj— Y Gwyllgi ???????? ~ ???????????????????????????? (@Jayfuz) October 22, 2019
Another fan, inspired by Volkov's Rocky IV-themed nickname "Drago" simply posted a GIF of Dolph Lundgren's legendary character, which carried the famous line: "If he dies, he dies."
pic.twitter.com/rqmC5VMY7I— Kevin Thang (@Skip2MyJays) October 22, 2019