UFC Fight Night 163 was originally scheduled to see the heavyweight matchup featuring Junior Dos Santos do battle with Alexander Volkov after almost a year since his last bit of action. The two were set up for five rounds as the headline fight. Unfortunately, an infection in Dos Santos’ leg has forced him to withdraw from the fight just 18 days before the fight.
This left the UFC scrambling to find a worthy replacement and “the Prince of War”, Greg Hardy, was able to secure a spot as Co-main event. Volkov comes into this bout listed at -265.
UFC Fight Night 163 Odds, Preview & Expert Picks
The Real Life DragoThe movie Rocky IV saw the creation of Ivan Drago, one of the most intimidating and imposing villains in film history. Alexander Volkov has earned himself the nickname of “Drago” due to his massive size of 6-7 and 240 pounds. Volkov will step back into the octagon on Saturday for the first time since being knocked out by Derrick Lewis a little over a year ago. Volkov was the better fighter for almost the entire bout, but wasn’t able to withstand a late flurry from Lewis that knocked Volkov unconscious.
The former Bellator champion has seen success come his way on the UFC stage as he is 4-1 since joining. Volkov earned his reputation as “Drago” due to his immense stopping power. He has registered 20 of his 30 victories due to knockouts. This fight should hopefully see him get back into contention for the heavyweight title fight.
Hardy tries to prove he belongsFormer NFL standout Greg Hardy is no stranger to being in the news. Most of the time though it is for all the wrong reasons. Domestic Violence allegations cast a shadow over his signing into the UFC. His only loss in his career came on an illegal knee in his UFC debut. Hardy’s last fight was initially ruled a Unanimous decision in his favor, but in between rounds Hardy had used an illegal inhaler.
The result of the fight was changed to a no contest as a result of the infraction. Hardy has caught a lot of criticism for the quality of opponent during his young career. Part of the decision to fight on short notice is the chance to fight against his toughest foe yet. The self proclaimed “Prince of War” has shown a special ability to finish fights as each of his wins have come via knockout. Hardy will have a massive opportunity to silence his critics in this co-main event matchup.
Excellent FightGreg Hardy comes into this fight as the underdog as MyBookie has him at +205 on the moneyline and it is easy to see how. Volkov is the first and highest ranked opponent Hardy has seen.
The bout will take place in Russia, which is the native country of Volkov. Hardy must be given some credit though as he took this fight on about three weeks notice. Dos Santos was to provide the path back to contention for Volkov but instead will meet with a hungry fighter looking for his first big shot.
Hardy will have his hands full against an experienced and aggressive Alexander Volkov. This will be an uphill battle for Hardy and he will more than likely have to finish the fight early if he hopes to stand a chance. I expect Alexander Volkov to win this heavyweight matchup.