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UFC Fight Night 163 In Russia Is All About Greg Hardy

Is Greg Hardy [1] ready for the spotlight and the big-time?

We are going to find out Saturday at UFC Fight Night 163 [2]. The event takes place live on ESPN+ from the CKSA Arena in Moscow, Russia.

Hardy, a former NFL all-pro who was kicked out of the sport for off-the-field issues, will meet former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov [3]. “Drago” is a native of Moscow and will be the overwhelming crowd-favorite.

But Hardy is pretty familiar with being the bad guy.

The 31-year-old former Carolina Panther and Dallas Cowboy, played 75 games in the NFL. He recorded 40 sacks, 238 tackles and forced eight fumbles. Those numbers resulted in a 2013 selection to the Pro Bowl, all-pro status that year and praise.

However, in 2013, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. That led to a 10-game suspension by the NFL that was reduced to four. The case was later dismissed, but the headlines had been printed.

In 2016, Hardy was arrested for cocaine possession in Dallas. Shortly there after, he announced plans to enter mixed martial arts.

Hardy made his amateur debut in 2017, winning all three of his bouts via knockout. His first pro appearance was in 2018 on Dana White’s Contender Series, as he knocked out fellow former NFL player Austen Lane. That led to a contract being offered by the UFC.

Greg Hardy Delivers Quick Knockout

Hardy appeared again on the Contender Series, earning another victory. He stepped out of the UFC to win at Xtreme Fight Night 352 via 53-second knockout before making his Octagon debut.

This past January, Hardy suffered his first loss, as he was disqualified following an illegal strike against Allen Crowder. He returned in April and stopped Dmitry Smolyakov and followed that up with a July win over Juan Adams.

At UFC on ESPN recently, Hardy’s bout with Ben Sosoli resulted in a no-contest after he had been awarded a decision. His use of an inhaler between rounds caused the decision to be changed.

Volkov is 30-7 in his career and coming off a third round knockout loss to Derrick Lewis. Prior to that, he had scored consecutive wins inside the Octagon over Timothy Johnson, Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve and former champion Fabricio Werdum.

To say Volkov is the toughest test of Hardy’s career would be a major understatement.

UFC Fight Night 163 Fight Card

MAIN CARD (ESPN+)

Featherweight: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar

Heavyweight: Alexander Volkov vs. Greg Hardy

Welterweight: Zelim Imadaev vs. Danny Roberts

Welterweight: Ramazan Emeev vs. Anthony Rocco Martin

Light Heavyweight: Shamil Gamzatov vs. Klidson Abreu

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+)

Light Heavyweight: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Dalcha Lungiambula

Welterweight: Rustam Khabilov vs. Sergey Khandozhko

Middleweight: Roman Kopylov vs. Karl Roberson

Welterweight: Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. David Zawada

Lightweight: Alexander Yakovlev vs. Roosevelt Roberts

Female Bantamweight: Pannie Kianzad vs. Jessica-Rose Clark

Bantamweight: Grigorli Popov vs. Davey Grant