Mixed martial arts fans have been waiting to see Greg Hardy fight a legitimate world-class heavyweight and that’ll finally happen in November.
Hardy has agreed to replace former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and take on former Bellator and M-1 Global titleholder Alexander Volkov at a UFC Fight Night event on Nov. 9 in Volkov’s hometown of Moscow, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto first reported.
The former NFL All-Pro defensive lineman has fought four times in the UFC in 2019 despite making his amateur MMA debut less than two years ago. He’ll become the first heavyweight in UFC history to fight five times in a calendar year.
Hardy went 3-0 as an amateur and 3-0 to start his pro career before making his UFC debut in January. Hardy, who’s known as much for his controversial criminal past as he is for being a former NFL star, was disqualified for landing an illegal knee against Allen Crowder in his first Octagon appearance. He followed that up with first-round technical knockout wins over Dmitry Smolyakov in April and Juan Adams in July.
This past weekend, Hardy thought he picked up a unanimous decision win over Ben Sosoli at UFC Boston, however Hardy used an asthma inhaler in between the second and third round, which is against the rules and thus the result was immediately changed to a no-contest by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission.
Hardy told ESPN he plans on appealing the no-contest ruling after his trip to Moscow because he claims he was told he was allowed to use his inhaler.
Meanwhile, Volkov (30-7) hasn’t fought in more than a year. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Russian was on the verge of earning a title shot – literally 11 seconds away from one – before he had a six-fight winning streak ended via a dramatic Derrick Lewis knockout with 11 seconds remaining in their UFC 229 bout in October of 2018. Volkov holds notable wins over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his March 2018 knockout of former champion Fabricio Werdum.
Other fights expected to take place on the card which takes place at CSKA Arena include:
— Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar
— Zelim Imadaev vs. Danny Roberts
— Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Ed Herman
— Ramazan Emeev vs. Anthony Rocco Martin
— Shamil Gamzatov vs. Klidson Abreu
— Magomed Ankalaev vs. Dalcha Lungiambula
— Rustam Khabilov vs. Sergey Khandozhko
— Roman Kopylov vs. Karl Roberson
— Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. David Zawada
— Pannie Kianzad vs. Jessica-Rose Clark
— Grigorii Popov vs. Davey Grant
— Alexander Yakovlev vs. Roosevelt Roberts