Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



Heather Hardy’s MMA aspirations may have ended with brutal Bellator loss

Photo courtesy of Natasha Verma Productions
Fighters Network

Boxing standout Heather Hardy, seeking to cement her status as a two-sport threat, had her MMA momentum stopped short on Friday night.

The fighting pride of Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn entered the cage at Bellator 185 at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and engaged in the third televised fight on SPIKE TV’s production.

Hardy stood across from fellow flyweight (125 pounds or under) Kristina Williams, out of Oklahoma, and from the get go, the Okie was showing a strong base in kickboxing. In round two, before Hardy was able to get the bout into deep waters, Williams turned her hips and rocked Hardy’s nose with a kick. Blood had already started flowing but now it was a gusher. The ref didn’t like the look of it, brought Hardy to the doc and the practitioner said no mas.

The time of the stoppage was 2:00 elapsed into the second. Hardy was hustled out of the cage to get proper medical attention.

Williams spoke after. “I feel really comfortable when I get in the cage,” she said to Jimmy Smith. She said that she wanted to be aware of the Hardy overhand right and fought to her game plan.

Hardy brought a 1-0 MMA mark, sitting pretty beside her 20-0 mark as a pro pugilist, to the cage in Connecticut. The 28 year old Williams, who surely must get carded if she wanted to buy a smoke or an alcohol product, debuted as professional MMAer, holding a 3-0 amateur mark.

The 35 year old New Yorker has a growing fanbase, which was considerable from her boxing exploits, but it’s exploded off her MMA debut. (Which was her goal in moving to the second sport, to give herself that much more leverage and options while edging closer to a grand opportunity which brings with it game-changer money.)

Hardy got bloodied up but was unbowed as she used a hands advantage in her MMA opener, against Alice Yauger, in June to grab a TKO3 win.

She is identifiable as a single mother to a teen daughter who admits she hustles and grinds to make ends meet while trying to activate her career dreams after taking up the sweet science as a late starter. Hardy debuted as a pro in 2012, and fights for promoter Lou DiBella, a New York-based deal maker who pushes harder than any U.S. promoter to present women’s boxing. She’s won legions of admirers for talking about dealing with massive adversity, which included being sexually abused.

In the first 5:00 round, Williams was sharp and smooth. Her kickboxing was spot on, and she used her height to her advantage. Her hands were up to par, too, looking comparable to the pugilist. No, it was clear, they hadn’t booked a gimme for Hardy to make her rise easier. Later in the round, Hardy backed off some with the aggression, as she seemed to be tabulating a tweak to strategy.

In round two, we saw blood from Hardy’s nose. Williams popped a smart jab, but Hardy wasn’t put off by the blood, her eyes stared daggers at the Okie. A kick — Williams is able to be a mule with either leg — opened up a nastier cut. And the ref halted the action, and the doc looked at Hardy’s nose. No more punishment to be risked, was the decision, and Williams declared the winner.