The next UFC bout for disgraced former NFL star Greg Hardy is lined up.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Hardy will fight Dmitry Smolyakov at UFC on ESPN 3 on April 27th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The bout has not been made official as of this writing.
Hardy (3-1) fought twice on Dana White’s Contender Series, earning a “developmental” contract with the UFC. After winning his next fight on the regional scene, Hardy was given the call-up to fight Allen Crowder in the UFC Brooklyn co-main event. In what was a largely terrible bout, Hardy was disqualified for throwing an illegal knee to the head of Crowder while he was downed. His inclusion on the UFC roster has drawn controversy given his (since expunged) conviction for assaulting his girlfriend, but Dana White has shot down critics of the decision.
Smolyakov (9-2) hasn’t fought in the UFC in more than two years, having lost fights to Cyril Asker and Luis Henrique by stoppage. “The Lifeguard” returned to competition this past January, submitting Evgeniy Bova on the Russian regional scene. It snapped his two-fight losing skid and also sent Bova to a sub-.500 record. Now we’ll see if third time is the charm for Smolyakov inside the Octagon.
UFC Fort Lauderdale could have a main event of Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa. However, according to Helwani’s report, Romero is in the middle of filming a reality TV show, so it’s possible we see Costa against Jacare Souza as the headliner instead.