The fight is over.
Alexander Volkov win.
Up-and-coming heavyweight prospect and former NFL player Greg Hardy faces his toughest UFC challenge yet, as he takes on human skyscraper Alexander Vokov in front of his home crowd.
Alexander ‘Drago’ Volkov has been out of action for over a year, following his devastating loss to Derrick Lewis at UFC 229 last October. At the age of 31, the Russian giant has plenty of time to put himself back into title contention following his first UFC defeat, and his first loss since 2015 when he was competing in Bellator. Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos was supposed to be the man standing in his way along the road to recovery, but the Brazilian had to pull out due to a bacterial infection in his leg. That means rising star Greg Hardy steps up to the plate at only 18 days’ notice.
Fight to finish inside the distance
Even with a full training camp, Hardy would’ve had his work cut out in his first fight against a top 10 opponent. At 6 foot 7, Vokov is a mountain of a man. He put in a dominating display against Lewis last year, hurting ‘The Black Beast’ on a number of occasions and ahead on all of the judges’ scorecards, before Lewis finally landed a huge combination to knock Volkov to the floor and end the fight through brutal ground and pound with just 11 seconds of the contest left on the clock. After beating Timothy Johnson, Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve and Fabricio Werdum in his first four UFC bouts, Drago will come again after perhaps wisely taking a lengthy break following such a heavy knockout. We’ll see if time has been a healer against Hardy this weekend.
Volkov to win by KO or TKO
Formerly a Carolina Panther and Dallas Cowboy, Hardy switched his attention from the NFL to MMA by competing in Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018. Taking on his new moniker as the ‘Prince of War’, Hardy was disqualified in his UFC debut for an illegal knee on Allen Crowder, his only loss to date. His last fight, only a couple of weeks ago in mid-October, was even more controversial. Hardy used an inhaler before the start of the third round in his unanimous decision victory over Ben Sosoli at UFC Boston, with the bout subsequently ruled a no contest despite being informed by a Massachusetts State Athletic Commission official at the time that he was okay to use his inhaler.
Volkov to win via decision
Hardy’s indiscretions both inside and outside the Octagon don’t appear to have harmed his prospects within the UFC though, with this short-notice fight giving him a chance to really move up the rankings. We can expect a stand-up boxing fight on Saturday night, with the chances of a KO extremely high. If this fight were over five rounds rather than three, there would be almost no chance of seeing the final bell. As it stands, Volkov should be the wilier competitor over the course of 15 minutes. He’s the favourite with the best betting sites, but after five KO victories in his first seven MMA fights, there’s dynamite in Hardy’s hands which could lead to a timely firework display in the Russian capital.
Hardy to win by KO or TKO
Aleksander Volkov to win the fight
Moscow-born Volkov is fighting in his hometown for the first time since 2016, and for the first time ever in the UFC. Drago has been inside the Octagon with some of the most dangerous heavyweights we’ve ever seen, with one of those, Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson, saying Hardy will need two inhalers to conquer the soaring Russian this weekend. The Prince of War has made a controversial start to his new sporting endeavour, and he certainly packs a serious punch. Fans inside the CSKA Arena will see these two trading some big blows, but with little preparation time and Volkov’s far superior experience, Drago is our pick to get the job done here.
John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
All Predictions by John Abrams