UFC on ESPN+ 21 Odds – Can Greg Hardy Make the Leap?

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This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Moscow somehow got way more interesting despite losing one of its original headliners. Junior Dos Santos nearly lost a leg to a bacterial infection and is out of the main event against heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov. Stepping up in his place is…Greg Hardy.

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Yes, the same Greg Hardy who fought just a few weeks ago and had his win overturned because of the use of his inhaler. The former NFL All-Pro who can’t escape his past as a domestic abuser. Most importantly, the MMA newbie with just six pro fights is entering the octagon against a former M-1 and Bellator champion with nearly 40 pro fights. 

Despite how you feel about Hardy, there’s no denying that what he’s doing takes some massive onions. Nothing we’ve seen of him so far suggests he’s anywhere close to Volkov’s level. But if he somehow pulls off the win, that’s instant contender status plus some serious hype. That’s the kind of hype that makes a checkered past a little bit easier to forget. 

The heavyweight matchup has been moved out of the main event slot, replaced by a featherweight bout between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar. That’s a sick fight, and getting 25 minutes of Zabit is a treat for the fans. The Russian is part of the great wave of Dagestani fighters making a lot of noise in the UFC, and he is the closest to joining Khabib Nurmagomedov in hoisting another strap. Plus, he’s fun as hell to watch. 

These are the two bouts that you need to care about, so let’s jump into their UFC odds at BookMaker.eu and break down your best betting options. Live UFC betting at online sportsbook lets you make bets on real-time line updates as well. 

Main Event, Featherweight

Zabit Magomedsharipov -300 vs. Calvin Kattar +228

Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: -145 / +105

Bet Big: Magomedsharipov to win at -300

You could make the argument that Zabit probably deserved a highly-ranked contender, but Kattar is no scrub. His only loss in five UFC fights came against Moicano, and he’s racked up sweet finishes in three of his four wins. Beating Ricardo Lamas in his last outing pretty much cemented his place in the upper ranks of the division – though Lamas has looked pretty old lately. 

Still, it’s hard to see how he handles the surging Russian, especially now that this fight has been extended to 25 minutes. Magomedsharipov is an animal that averages over 4.5 strikes per minute and over six takedowns per 15. The stats might show that he’s relentless, but the eye test is even more convincing – his striking is wild but effective, and his grappling blends powerful wrestling with slick submissions. 

With all the tools in his arsenal, the fight is Magomedsharipov’s to lose. We liked his price far more when it opened around -240, but the public hammered the line down to its current price.


Co-Main Event, Heavyweight

Alexander Volkov -265 vs. Greg Hardy +204

Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +220 / -300

Parlay: Fight doesn’t go to decision -300

There’s no way this fight goes the full 25 minutes. Either Hardy lands a miracle punch a la Derrick Lewis, or Volkov uses him as a punching bag and ends the fight early. With such an expensive price, this prop is only useful as a parlay booster, and even then it won’t boost your returns much. Still, it’s better than nothing and guaranteed money. 

Our pick: Volkov to win by TKO / Volkov to win inside the distance +100

Yes, there is a chance that Hardy pulls a Derrick Lewis, but let’s not forget that The Black Beast, while sloppy, actually has a lot of MMA experience. The guy has serious survival skills and knows how to capitalize on mistakes. Hardy is still getting a handle on how to manage his energy properly. 

Volkov was winning the Lewis fight handily before getting caught with a hail mary haymaker. Before that, the Russian had won six straight fights, including a win a knockout win over Fabricio Werdum. Had he held on for 10 more seconds against Lewis, he very well could have gone on to fight for the title. This is a championship level fighter taking on a total newb. Anything less than a finish would be a major disappointment. 

Check out the latest UFC betting odds.

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Abe first encountered MMA in 2000, watching a VHS tape of Kazushi Sakuraba kicking the legs of a downed Royce Gracie in Pride Fighting Championships. He's been hooked ever since. Abe has penned NBA and NFL articles for Sports Illustrated and RotoExperts. In 2010, Abe signed on as the lead MMA writer for BigOnSports.com, and is now dedicated to helping fellow fans beat the odds.