Alexander Volkov beat Greg Hardy by unanimous decision in the UFC Fight Night 163 co-main event in Moscow on Saturday.
Each of the three judges scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Volkov:
Many expected the fight to end via knockout, but both fighters were somewhat conservative throughout. On Hardy's part, they may have had something to do with the fact that he told his corner men after the first round that he injured his right hand.
Hardy isn't accustomed to going the distance, and it was clear in the latter stages that he was tired:
While Volkov seemingly could have gotten more aggressive and attempted to finish Hardy, he said after the fight that the decision not to was a calculated one:
As pointed out by TSN's Aaron Bronsteter, Volkov fought intelligently and didn't give Hardy many chances to do damage:
Despite falling short, Josh Gross of The Athletic believes Hardy likely learned a lot from going the distance against a quality fighter:
Junior dos Santos was originally scheduled to fight Volkov, who fights out of Moscow, but the ex-heavyweight champion suffered a bacterial infection in his leg and was forced to withdraw.
Volkov sent the CSKA Arena crowd home happy with his fifth win in six UFC fights. He had won his first four UFC bouts before falling to No. 5 heavyweight Derrick Lewis at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018. The 31-year-old had not stepped into the Octagon since.
Hardy replaced Dos Santos even though he only had a 21-day break between fights. The ex-Carolina Panther defensive end initially defeated Ben Sosoli on Oct. 18, but the decision was ruled a no-contest because he used an inhaler between the second and third rounds.
The 31-year-old is now 5-2 with one no-contest in his MMA career. His other defeat came against Allen Crowder via disqualification.