While an arm injury may have played a small role, Greg Hardy, as expected, was badly outclassed by Alexander Volkov at UFC Moscow.
If you had suggested a year ago that Greg Hardy would be featured in the co-main event of a UFC card, it’s likely you would have been met with ridicule. It would have been seen as a laughable idea. It’s still a laughable idea, for that matter. Yet that’s exactly what played out at UFC Moscow, with Hardy stepping up on short notice to fill in for Junior Dos Santos against Alexander Volkov.
Plenty has been written about Hardy and whether a man once convicted of domestic violence should be gifted a spot in the UFC. But controversy aside, Hardy was a green fighter still making rookie mistakes despite a handful of amateur fights and seven outings as a pro. An illegal knee in his UFC debut saw him pick up his first career loss. Use of an inhaler between rounds saw his last fight, at UFC Boston just a few weeks ago, end in a No Contest.
On paper, Hardy vs. Volkov was a gross mismatch. Experience, skill, cardio, a lot would likely favor Volkov. Hardy would look to land a heavy shot off his jab early, while working Volkov’s legs. Volkov, however, stayed cool and worked his jab. Hardy’s leg kick spun him around, putting him badly out of position. Hardy briefly worked for a takedown, but gave up on the attempt fairly quickly.
Volkov, methodical, walked Hardy down, then snuck a kick up high. He’d later add one to the body, while Hardy circled, flashing a jab but unable to get inside on the much taller, longer man. A couple of big left hooks for Hardy, however, would prove he wasn’t entirely outclassed. Just mostly.
Hardy would look for a takedown that was easily fought off within the opening minute of the second round. Not a good sign from Hardy. Volkov began connecting with a number of kicks to Hardy’s legs, almost feelers with little behind them. Hardy put himself off-balance with a kick attempt of his own, then targeted the body with a pair of jabs. The failed NFL star appeared to be favoring his right hand, which may have been injured by blocking a kick. He was still willing to throw it, however, connecting with an overhand near the midway mark of the second.
Alexander Volkov connected with a front kick a short time later, and while he was cautious of Hardy’s power, he was having his way with his kicks. Hardy tried and failed with a spinning back fist, while Volkov went upstairs again. Hardy’s moment was beginning to become a factor, thanks to Volkov’s numerous kicking attacks. They’d head to a third, with Hardy in need of a finish.
Volkov opened the third frame landing a kick on the chin of Greg Hardy. From Hardy’s side, the bout felt like more of a sparring match, being generous. Volkov continued to do what he wanted with his kicks, and landed a couple of straight punches as well. At least one got Hardy’s attention; he fired back, but Volkov easily avoided his attack. More kicks landed for Volkov, in a fight that was likely the first time a Russian named Drago had western fans pulling for him to win.
Straight shots connecting late!
— UFC (@ufc) November 9, 2019
Hardy’s supporters and the UFC itself may play the loss off as a learning experience in a fight where Hardy had nothing to lose. But UFC Moscow proved Greg Hardy has no business being anywhere near a ranked opponent at this point in his career.
Official Result: Alexander Volkov def. Greg Hardy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)