UFC Fight Night: 163 | Squared Up: Hardy vs Volkov Predictions & Analysis

Jason Paglia

Thursday, November 7, 2019 4:07 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 4:07 PM UTC

Aside from the co-main event, there are a couple spots to potentially make money on the card, but all in all it’s a pretty standard UFC Fight Night card. It’s back to business as usual, so let’s do what we do and break it down.

<p>If it seems like only 3 weeks ago we last saw Greg Hardy in the cage, it’s because it was. We last saw Greg Hardy at UFC on ESPN 6 on October 18th. Fast forward 3 weeks and Saturday at UFC Fight Night 163 he will be one half of the heavyweight co-main event. It all takes place under the lights of the CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia Saturday afternoon, when unranked heavyweight Greg Hardy squares up against the #7 ranked heavyweight fighter in the world Alexander Volkov.</p><p> </p><div><h2 style="text-align:center">ALEXANDER VOLKOV (30-7) VS GREG HARDY (5-1)</h2><p style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/greg-hardy-vs-alexander-volkov-3966560/?mtid=126" target="_blank" title="UFC Fight Odds"><strong>Saturday 9<sup>th</sup>, Nov 2019</strong></a></p><h2 style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dc44484cba7a3545acf532c/original-alexander-volkov" style="width:90%" /></h2><div> </div><h2><strong>Alexander Volkov:</strong></h2><p>There is not much background I was able to find on Alexander Volkov. He graduated from a Moscow State Technical School in 2011. That was the extent of his schooling and early life. The story for Volkov really kicks off when he turned professional in 2008. That was when he signed a contract with M1-Global.</p><p>In April of 2009, Volkov made his pro debut against Nikolay Pleshakov where he won via TKO in just under 80 seconds. With a quick turnaround of only a month later, Volkov stepped back in the cage against Adam Alikhanov. Not to be outdone the first time around, he followed his first TKO win with another, this time in 20 seconds. Feeling as if he was unbeatable, he quickly found out that he wasn’t. Volkov suffered his first loss only 3 fights into his career at M1-Challenge #4 when he lost via submission to Akhmed Sultanov. By May 2012, Volkov had fought in some of the biggest promotions he could find over seas, but he was ready for a new challenge in a new place. He ended up signing with the 2nd largest US promotion in Bellator MMA. He debuted at Bellator 75 against Brett Rogers where he won via unanimous decision. Through 9 fights with the promotion he won 6 times. Finally, in November of 2016 he signed with the biggest MMA promotion in the world in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Since entering the UFC, Volkow has won four of his first five fights and is now one of the elite heavyweights in the world. Volkov is knocking at the door of a title shot. A couple more quality wins under his belt and he will get his opportunity. Below is a look at Alexander Volkov, by the numbers.</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― STATS ―</strong></u></p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dc4449ecba7a3545acf532d/original-alexander-volkov-stats" style="width:100%" /></p><p><strong><u>― PROS ―</u></strong></p><p>• <strong>Striking</strong> (Volkov is a gifted striker for a heavyweight. Whether he fights in the pocket or uses his length to strike from range he has the accuracy, combinations and hand speed to give most heavyweights an issue.)</p><p>• <strong>Power</strong> (Although Volkov couldn’t put Derrick Lewis away in his last fight, He had him hurt multiple times and was close to stopping him a few times. He has 20 knockouts in 30 professional wins. You don’t get that in MMA against heavyweights if you don’t have legitimate power.</p><p>• <strong>Stamina</strong> (In every fight that I could find on tape his cardio has looked rock solid.)</p><p>• <strong>Size/Reach</strong> (Genetics have gifted Alexander Volkov a built in advantage in almost every fight he is in. When your 6 foot 7 inches tall and has the reach to boot you should be able to take advantage of it, and he has.)</p><p> </p><p><u><strong>― CONS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Grappling</strong> (I have not seen enough from Alexander Volkov to know whether he is a legitimate grappler or not. The more we see of him the more we should see him in situations where he will show us he can or can not grapple)</p><p>•<strong>Pressure</strong> (This is a BALLZY spot that Alexander Volkov has put himself in. He has everything to lose here and not much to gain. He is fighting in his home town with all the pressure that comes with that alone, and now he adds a dangerous and powerful striker to the mix that is an unknown and unranked quantity. A very tough spot he put himself in, and if he gets the job done on Saturday I wil be very impressed.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dc444bbcba7a3545acf532e/original-greg-hardy" style="width:90%" /></p><h2>Greg Hardy:</h2><p>Where to begin with life of Greg Hardy? He burst on the scene as a stand out defensive end for the University of Mississippi. He was selected in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. While playing for Carolina, he became one of the premier defensive ends in the league and was named to the 2013 Pro Bowl Team and 2nd team All Pro where he had a franchise record 15 sacks in a season. Shortly after that he was traded to the Cowboys due to numerous behavioral violations. Finally in 2014 Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend and sentenced to 18 months probation in addition to being suspended from the NFL for 10 games which was later overturned to 4 games. Soon after, no team in the league thought he was worth the hassle and basically black balled the man from ever competing in the NFL again.</p><p>With football behind him, Hardy was lost. He had no idea how he would be able to sustain a living, so he turned to the one sport and organization that he knew would both give him a chance and he would be able to succeed in. Fighting wasn’t the issue for Hardy, the only difference now is that he would be fighting men instead of women. He entered the UFC through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series where he ran through the scrubs on that show. He has since had 6 fights in the UFC and he has never been beat. He lost one fight by disqualification for kicking someone in the head while they were on the ground, but other than that he hasn’t lost because another man imposed their will on him. Strangely enough in his last fight, he beat Ben Sosoli with a great game plan, but the fight was ruled a NO CONTEST because he used an inhaler during the fight. Now he looks to get back on track against his toughest opponent by a mile thus far. Will he be able to score the biggest win of his MMA career and enter the top 15? Below is a look at Greg Hardy, by the numbers.</p><p><u><strong>― STATS ―</strong></u></p><p><img alt src="https://images-production-euw2-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5dc444cfcba7a3545acf532f/original-greg-hardy-stats" style="width:100%" /></p><p><u><strong>― PROS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>Dinosaur</strong> <strong>Power</strong> (STUPID, DUMB, MAN BABY, FREAKISH STRENGTH.)</p><p>• <strong>Athleticism</strong> (Say what you will about Greg Hardy and how bad of a guy that he is, but he is a world class athlete for someone his size. An All-Pro NFL player, and he enters the UFC seamlessly crushing the first 6 opponents he faces. Not many people are capable of doing that. It says a lot about the level of athlete it takes to accomplish both of those obstacles.)</p><p><u><strong>― CONS ―</strong></u></p><p>• <strong>The Unknown </strong>(He has not been in enough situations this early in his MMA career to know how he will handle any type of adversity in the cage. How will his chin react the first time he gets cracked….. etc.)</p><p>•<strong> Fight IQ </strong>(THE MAN HAS HAD 6 PROFESSIONAL FIGHTS!!! THE END.)</p><p>•<strong> Grappling</strong> (I have no idea if Hardy is capable of grappling. He may be a fast learner, but we wouldn’t know because he has not been in a situation where he has needed to use both his grappling and wrestling game. He has been on top of an opponent on the ground and his top control seems very solid. With the exception of that we know nothing.)</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--QzrUoU1e--/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/17wwvcry020hhjpg.jpg" style="width:90%" /></p><h2>THE VERDICT</h2><p>So, who wins the fight? Alexander Volkov deserves to be the favorite in this fight. He has proven himself to a much further degree than Hardy has. Volkov’s win over former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has proven that much.</p><p>With all that said does Hardy deserve to be this big of a favorite with the mind altering power he has? That is the main question in this fight, and my gut says NO. He should be a dog, but not at a price of (3.20). In order for Hardy to crack this chin, he is going to have to take advantage of the scrambles. He needs to be the Greg Hardy we saw in his first 5 fights and not the Hardy we say 3 weeks ago. A few weeks ago he showed a very different side, a disciplined and patient side. Behind his jab, he picked off round after round on his way to a decision victory.</p><p>IF that Hardy shows up, I think he loses. Volkov is way to seasoned a striker, and I think he would be able to pick that version of Hardy apart piece by piece. Instead, we need the Hardy that is a lot more reckless. If he throws caution to the wind slightly, he should have multiple opportunities to crack that chin. Even though Hardy deserves to be the underdog, I think there is too much value not to take the flyer on Greg Hardy here. I will have Hardy money line, and the prices are insane for Hardy by TKO round by round, so I will have my hand in a few of those props as well. Hardy. Book It!</p><p><strong>THE PICK: </strong><a href="http://www.oddsmarket.com/fighting/int/ultimate-fighting-championship/greg-hardy-vs-alexander-volkov-3966560/?mtid=126" target="_blank" title="Fight Odds">Greg Hardy to win</a> at 11/5 (3.20) <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Well rated bookmaker">BET365</a></p><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=162&amp;a=ec641d03-1e6d-4096-9f5f-d2a6939022d0&amp;f=3"><img alt src="https://cmscdn.staticcache.org/assets/image/0005/1349915/Biggest-Ever-Bet-Boost-1280x480-English-UK.jpg" style="width:100%" /></a></p></div>
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