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Greg Hardy vs. Dmitry Smolyakov - 4/27/19 UFC on ESPN 3 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Greg Hardy vs. Dmitry Smolyakov
Date & Time Saturday April 27, 2019, 10:30 PM (EDT)
BB&T Center
Sunrise, Florida
The Line
The Line: Smolyakov +231 / Hardy -259 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
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Greg Hardy and Dmitry Smolyakov fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN 3 at the BB&T Center.

Greg Hardy enters this fight with a 3-1 record and has won 100 percent of his fights by knockout. Hardy won three of his last four fights and is coming off a January loss to Allen Crowder. Hardy is averaging 3.88 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 4.5 percent. Hardy is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Hardy is coming off his first career loss after landing an illegal knee to the side of the head while his opponent was still on the ground. As if there were any more reason for UFC fans to root against the former NFL Pro Bowl defensive end, Hardy certainly gave it to them. Hardy will now fight for the second time under the UFC banner and is still a 30-year-old who is learning on the fly. With no previous MMA background and just seven fights when you include three on the amateur level, Hardy has a lot to learn when it comes to clinching, wrestling, BJJ and simply the use of his legs. There’s not a whole lot to Hardy at this stage of his career outside of his standup boxing and his ability to swing for the fences. If Hardy connects with one of his strikes, it could be lights out for his opponent. Outside of that, Hardy is pretty much outclassed in every other area when going up against experienced fighters. Hardy has even shown a quick gas tank, as he gets tired fast and even blamed the illegal knee on fatigue. This will be Hardy’s first career pro fight in Florida.

Dmitry Smolyakov enters this fight with a 9-2 record and has won 56 percent of his fights by submission. Smolyakov has split his last four fights, and he’s coming off a January win over Evgeniy Bova. Smolyakov is averaging 1.63 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 43 percent. Smolyakov is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Smolyakov returns to the UFC after being finished in two fights against Cyril Asker and Luis Henrique, his only two career losses and only notable names he’s fought in his career. Smolyakov has won all eight of his fights by either knockout or submission and has a background in freestyle wrestling. Smolyakov does have some decent hand speed, puts his combinations together nicely and he is Russian, so you can expect a strong chin as well. However, Smolyakov is most comfortable on the canvas and has finished two of his fights via the kimura, so he’s a threat on his back as well. This will be Smolyakov’s third career fight in the United States.

Smolyakov isn’t a world class fighter by any means, but he’s a far more experienced fighter than Hardy and his background in wrestling gives him a massive edge on the canvas. If this fight goes to the ground, Smolyakov should be able to finish it rather easily. I just don’t understand why Hardy is such a big favorite whenever he fights. He’s just all athlete and striker power. He has no technique, no wrestling skills, tires easily and is completely lost when on the ground. Completely. Yes, there’s a chance Hardy lands that one haymaker and ends things, but that’s about all you can hope for when backing him. The guy is extremely wet behind the ears and isn't ready for this level of MMA given his limited experience. He's just a big name the UFC is using and hoping things pan out. 

Smolyakov and this massive underdog price is probably the best value you’re going to get on this card.

Dmitry Smolyakov +231

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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