Story updated at 5:16 p.m. ET to include Ngannou’s response.
Greg Hardy will take a decided step up in competition in his next fight.
The ex-NFL player has accepted a fight against Alexander Volkov at UFC Moscow on Nov. 9, filling in for ex-champ Junior dos Santos, who was forced out of the fight this week.
Sources close to the contest confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report from ESPN, which cited UFC President Dana White on the promotion’s plans. While bout agreements haven’t been signed, it’s expected that Hardy vs. Volkov will be finalized shortly.
Hardy vs. Volkov shifts to the co-main event slot with the featherweight fight between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar now serving as the headliner for the card.
Hardy takes the fight just days after his latest UFC win was overturned to a no-contest following a controversial moment between the second and third rounds in his bout against Ben Sosoli in Boston.
As he got to his corner, Hardy could be seen taking a hit off of his inhaler, which was immediately deemed illegal by UFC VP of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner. Hardy went onto win a unanimous decision, but within minutes the fight, it was overturned to a no-contest.
The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission later told MMA Fighting that the decision to overturn the fight was based upon the assertion that “the inhaler was not pre-approved by the commission for use during the fight in accordance with the Commission’s regulations.”
Hardy’s team plans to appeal the decision, but he’s not going to sit around and sulk with a chance to jump into a main event in just a few weeks’ time.
As for Volkov, he looks to get back on track after suffering a stunning third-round knockout against Derrick Lewis in his last appearance in October 2018. Volkov enjoys a home audience as he returns to fight in Russia for the first time since 2016 in his final bout before joining the UFC roster.
The booking ended a short scramble for the promotion. It also kept another famous UFC heavyweight in limbo. Just hours after volunteering to fill in for dos Santos, Francis Ngannou, who recently vented about his inability to fight, gave his reaction to getting passed up.
I love the UFC game, it's so funny. #UFCMoscow— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) October 22, 2019