It’s been an interesting ride witnessing the UFC ‘s handling of Greg Hardy’s short but yet already tested mixed martial arts career.
We’ve seen some ups, and we’ve seen some downs since his MMA journey started in November of 2017.
Firstly, we’d only seen the ups, with him winning five of his first six fights in under one minute, all via knockout. The only bout that lasted past the 60 second mark only went 96 seconds.
Three of those were amateur bouts, and three professional.
Next came his UFC debut, where we saw him get pushed into the second round. He landed an illegal knee at 2:28 of the round and was disqualified from the contest, resulting in his first defeat.
Hardy then won his next two via knockout, one in 135 seconds, the other in just 45, before going the distance for the first time. He won that fight, but the victory was overturned to a no contest due to him using his asthma inhaler between rounds.
Next came the biggest test of his young career, where he faced former Bellator & M-1 Global heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov. He lost the fight via unanimous decision, but looked very good considering the circumstances.
Hardy was just 5-1 (1 NC) going into this bout, and Volkov was 30-7. The only UFC fight Volkov lost, he won the entire fight before being KO’d by No. 3 ranked Derrick Lewis with about ten seconds left in the bout.
Hardy then won his next two against Yorgan De Castro (UD) and Maurice Greene (TKO), before being set back by Marcin Tybura, and then Tai Tuivasa, both via TKO. He was looking great in the Tybura fight, sharper and more explosive than ever, but he got taken down, fatigued, and finished.
The former NFL star also cracked Tuivasa a good one, stunning him in their bout, but he ran straight into the Aussie’s line of fire and paid dearly for it. This brought his record to 7-4 (1 NC), and many people are starting to believe the worst for his career.
Not that it saddens anyone, Greg Hardy is probably the most hated fighter in all of combat sports. Yes, even more than the Paul brothers, believe it or not.
Now, going into his newly signed bout against the most experienced heavyweight on the entire roster, it’s going to be interesting to see how Hardy deals with Alexey Oleinik as an opponent.
These two are to face one another on January 22, 2022, at UFC 270, presumably on the main card.
Oleinik is perhaps the best, most dangerous grappler in the division, now that we don’t have the likes of Frank Mir or Fabricio Werdum anymore, and he has nearly 80 fights to his credit, while Hardy has just 12, 15 if you consider his amateur run.
Oleinik, a five-time Performance of the Night winner, is an absolute legend that’s grinded away his entire career.
He’s a five-time Moscow combat sambo champion, a two-time Russian combat sambo champion, a Eurasian combat sambo champion, and a world combat sambo champion. Not only that, but he’s also claimed the throne in eight different mixed martial arts tournaments as a professional.
The Russian talent made it to 6-2 inside the octagon across his first eight bouts with the UFC, but only ever made it to a two-fight win streak.
During this time, he defeated the likes of Anthony Hamilton (neck crank), Jared Rosholt (KO), Viktor Pesta (Ezekiel choke), Travis Browne (neck crank), Junior Albini (Ezekiel choke), and Mark Hunt (rear naked choke).
The two defeats came to Daniel Omielanczuk (MD) and Curtis Blaydes (TKO), and two defeats would follow his most recent two-fight win streak, to Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris, being TKO’d in both encounters, before he’d win two more against Maurice Greene (armbar) and Fabricio Werdum (SD).
Since then however, Oleinik, like Hardy, has had some hardships, as he’s dropped his last three-straight to Derrick Lewis (TKO), Chris Daukaus (TKO), and Sergei Spivak (UD).
It’ll be interesting seeing how both parties do coming off a series of defeats, not to mention their contrast of styles.
Including Hardy’s amateur run, his complete MMA record is 10-4 (1 NC), and let’s be honest, it should be 11-4, or even 11-3 (1 NC), considering his DQ defeat.
Of those eleven wins, nine come via knockout, eight in the first round.
Now, when looking at Oleinik’s record, it’s much, much more complex than that.
First off, Oleinik is 59-16-1, only eight of those victories come via knockout, and five via decision. That means a whopping 46 of them come via submission, which is just astounding.
Of those 46 submission victories, 14 come via Ezekiel choke, 11 via rear naked choke, five via triangle choke, five via armbar, three via heel hook, three via neck crank, two via scarfhold, two via guillotine choke, and one arm-triangle choke.
Oleinik has been knocked out nine times in those 16 defeats, and he’s submitted twice, his first and second career defeats. The most recent of those came back in 2004, and his next defeat would come via unanimous decision to Chael Sonnen.
Oleinik is also the first mixed martial arts fighter to compete in, and win fights inside of four different decades.
All in all, how do you see this incredible heavyweight match up going?
If you enjoyed this piece, please feel free to share it on social media!
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.