The UFC has finalized a matchup between heavyweights for their January PPV. John Morgan of MMA Junkie was the first to report yesterday that the promotion has booked a matchup between Greg Hardy (7-4, 1 NC) and Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1).
The matchup is expected to take place at UFC 270 on January 22nd. As you can tell by reading his record, Oleinik is going to be competing in his 77th professional fight. The Russian’s first fight came all the way back in 1996.
For context, Greg Hardy was just eight years old when Oleinik made his professional MMA debut. He’s fought all over the world but Oleinik made his way to the UFC back in 2014.
Oleinik has had a very solid run with the UFC going 9-7 during his sixteen fights with the promotion. He’s been in there with some of the very best in the world and has wins against the likes of Travis Browne, Mark Hunt, and former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.
The last time we saw Oleinik was back in June when he lost a decision to Sergey Spivak at a UFC Fight Night. At 44 years old and having lost three in a row, this could be a do-or-die fight for Oleinik.
UFC’s Prince of War
Greg Hardy has had a decent transition from being an all-pro NFL player to a UFC fighter. After starting his professional MMA career with three first round knockouts, the UFC brought him on and put him in a co-main event immediately.
However, Hardy ended up losing by throwing an illegal knee to his opponent. After that, he won three straight fights, however, the third was ultimately ruled a No Contest due to Hardy using an inhaler.
At the end of 2020, Hardy was on a two-fight win streak and was taking on Marcin Tybura. Had Hardy won, you would have likely seen his name in the UFC rankings. He started out the fight with Tybura very well.
However, he ultimately gassed and was stopped in the second round. Most recently, he was knocked out in the first round by Tai Tuivasa at UFC 264. This is the first time in Hardy’s MMA career where he’s lost back-to-back fights.
Both of these men have their backs against a wall here and they need a win. It will also be incredibly obvious what the strategies are at UFC 270. Hardy wants to stand and trade while Oleinik will be trying to take him down. A fun clash of styles in January.