Former NFL player Greg Hardy has officially made it to the big leagues of MMA. After wowing fans with his two quick knockouts on Dana White’s Contender Series the UFC announced he’ll make his official debut on January 19th. While Hardy was fighting in the armatures his finished every fight with a quick KO or TKO. Not to mention he already has three wins as a pro. On the Tuesday Night Contender Series he won both of his fights. The first lasting 57 seconds, and the second fight only lasting 17 seconds. The UFC signed him to a developmental contract to see how he’d do against other fighters, he didn’t disappoint. At Xtreme Fight Night 352 he fought Rasheem Jones, and Hardy ran through him knocking Jones out in only 53 seconds.
On the very first card on ESPN Plus the man Hardy will be standing across the octagon from is fellow heavyweight Allen Crowder. Crowder is 9-3 as a professional. Crowder might have an experience factor in this fight but a very slight one. Crowder has only had two fights in the UFC and one of them was on the Contender Series. In his actual UFC debut he lost against Justin Willis in the first round. There’s a lot of pressure on both men in this fight. For Hardy this is his second chance, he knows a lot of people want to see him lose this fight. Hardy wants to use that as extra motivation to win in spectacular fashion and prove to everyone he’s still a gifted athlete. When it comes to Crowder he already lost his UFC debut so you know he’s hungry for his first official UFC victory. He’s been fighting professionally since 2014. Not to mention 3 of Crowder’s victories are via submission, no one has tested Hardy’s ground game or takedown defense. So Crowder should be considered the favorite heading into this fight. It also must be in Crowder’s mind that if Hardy lands a bomb that shuts Crowder’s lights out, people will start to question if Crowder even belongs in the UFC. If you’re a fan of the sport you know it only takes one punch to end a fight in the heavyweight division, so no doubt this should be an exciting fight
That is if this fight even takes place. The UFC is getting a lot of backlash because of another fight that’s suppose to be taking place on the card. Rachael Ostovich is set to take on Paige VanZant on the same card. Ostovich was attacked and brutally beaten by her husband Arnold Berdon on November 18th. Brerdon plead not guilty and claimed it was in self-defense. It’s worth to mention Ostovich is only 5,3. During the attack Ostovich suffered a broken orbital bone. Despite the Injury Ostovich is still fighting on January 19th.
Obviously the placement of Greg Hardy on the same card as Ostovich was a bad decision on the UFC’s part. They’re receiving backlash all over social media. Putting a man who was found guilty of domestic abuse on the same card as a woman who just got attacked by her husband is a terrible idea. The story of this card shouldn’t be Greg Hardy’s making his UFC debut; the story should be about the toughness of Rachael Ostovich. The fact this woman went through something so brutal, the fact she has a broken orbital bone, and the fact that she’s still mentally prepared to fight after facing something so traumatic is mind blowing. Win or lose January 19th Rachel Ostovich is showing the world how much heart she has, and I believe she’s going to gain a much bigger following because of it.
Stephen Caloggero (@steveo_calo)