We have more Heavyweight action this weekend as the UFC returns to Las Vegas when Greg Hardy (6-2) takes on The Crochet Boss Maurice Greene (9-4) in a battle of the strikers.
Greg Hardy is quite the polarising figure in MMA. Hardy got a pretty big push right off the bat. The UFC knew he was a big name and a potential draw for the company as he transitioned to the sport after a successful NFL career. Hardy also has a history of domestic violence which the company has brushed under the rug. In his very first fight with the UFC, Hardy was given the co-main spot on the respective fight card. He ended up losing the fight due to an illegal knee and later had a fight against Ben Sosoli overturned due to the use of an inhaler between rounds that caused many people to question if Hardy even knew the rules of the sport he was participating in. Despite the controversy, Hardy has managed to rack up 3 official wins in the UFC. He also showed he has courage when he stepped in on short notice to face the much more experienced Alexander Volkov, a fight that improved his stock despite him losing.
Beginning his UFC career on The Ultimate Fighter 28, avid crocheter Maurice Greene pieced together 3 wins in the promotion before dropping his next 2 fights, including one to tough veteran Alexey Oleinik. Greene managed to rebound from the losses after a back and forth fight with Gian Villante saw him secure a third-round submission victory. A win against a big name like Hardy would help give Greene’s career a boost despite his opponent not sitting in the top 15 of the division.
Greg Hardy won his last fight against, then undefeated, knockout merchant Yorgan De Castro by a unanimous decision. The fight was pretty much all fought on the feet with De Castro looking to get a flashy knockout early but Hardy managed to win by pushing the pace of the fight and outworking De Castro who slowed down a lot in the later rounds. In order to beat Greene, Hardy has to check his leg kicks. He was clearly feeling the effects of them in the De Castro fight and Greene likes to throw them. Hardy’s speed will also be a big advantage in this fight, he needs to use it to land a higher volume of strikes and to get out of the way of Greene’s power shots.
In his last fight against Gian Villante, Maurice Greene was really hurt in the third round. After a back and forth fight between the two, it looked like Villante was about to finish him but the ensuing attacks drained Villante so much his cardio was completely gone. Greene took advantage of this and secured a choke on an extremely tired Gian to pick up the submission victory. In order to be victorious against Hardy, Greene needs to keep him at a distance and attack the leg. If he takes away Hardy’s balance, he also takes away his power and can then use his kickboxing to pick apart the more athletic man.
A win for either fighter likely wouldn’t get them into the realm of a top 10 opponent but it would certainly be a step towards breaking the top 15. Many people want to fight Hardy due to his notoriety so he may be able to get a more prestigious opponent if he picks up the W here. Either fighter could end up facing the likes of the recent winner and shoey connoisseur Tai Tuivasa if they win this weekend. Whichever fighter finds himself on the losing end could be matched up with Stefan Struve or even be saved for a newcomer to the division. Fingers crossed this isn’t another Greg Hardy fight that is shrouded in controversy.
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