By Lance LeVan
UFC 181 will be held in Las Vegas on Dec. 6. In my opinion, this is going to be one of the best fight cards in quite a while. All five of the main fights are going to be very exciting and action packed. All of these fights have the makings for “Fight of the Night.”
(C) Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (16-2-0) vs. (No. 1) Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler (24-10-0 1NC)
This is going to be a five-round welterweight (170 pounds) title fight. This definitely is another one of those fights that I have got to watch. I saw these two guys fight in Dallas in March. It was an epic battle. But Hendricks came away with the belt. I always enjoy watching matches between top contenders, like this fight. Everyone knew after that last fight there would be a rematch. This is going to be a brawl. Both of these fighters are known for their punching power and neither one of them is scared to take a punch. Both fighters are former wrestlers, so it is possible to see some good takedowns. In the end, someone is going to get KTFO. There is no bad-blood between these two warriors…Hendricks has the belt…and Lawler wants it for himself. My prediction: Hendricks wins via TKO in the fifth round.
(C) Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (17-2-0) vs. (No. 1) Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-3-0)
This is a five-round lightweight (155 pounds) title fight. This is going to be an awesome fight. I have been watching this season of The Ultimate Fighter to try and see some drama from these two coaches…but I don’t see anything. There doesn’t’ appear to be any bad blood between them. They are very professional athletes. Pettis has won eight of his last nine fights and is the current lightweight champion. He is fast and very technical. But for some reason…he loves to brawl. He seems to enjoy trading punches with his opponents. Melendez has also won eight of his last nine fights. In the striking area…I have to give the nod to Pettis. He is a much more technical striker and throws fight-ending punches from seemingly any angle. In the grappling department, Melendez has the edge, but he tends to give up positioning when he gets too aggressive. I am hoping that Pettis’ previous knee injury will not be a factor in this fight. I would hate to see that be the reason that he loses this fight. In the end…I have to go with the champion in this prediction. My prediction: Pettis wins by submission (triangle choke) in the fourth round.
(No. 3) Travis “Hapa” Browne (16-2-1) vs. Brendan “Big Brown” Schaub (11-4-0)
This is a three-round heavyweight (265 pounds) fight that should be action-packed. Both of these guys seem to seriously enjoy smashing their opponents and dishing out LOTS of ground and pound. Browne has won three of his last four fights and is looking to move one step closer to a title shot. A decisive win versus Schaub might propel him up a notch…or at least get him a little closer to the belt. Browne is a purple belt in BJJ, so he won’t mind going to the ground. But I think he prefers to punch and elbow his opponents when they are on the ground. Schaub is a brown belt in BJJ and a former pro football player. These guys are going to try and punch their way in… take down the other fighter…and smash their opponent on the ground. There probably won’t be any submission attempts, but I think the referee will definitely be stopping this fight early. As much as they punch…as hard as they hit…someone is going to get KTFO in this fight. It’s just a matter of “who is it gonna be.” I think that it is all going to come down to who is the better striker and who has the ability to take more punishment and keep moving ahead. In my honest opinion…I think that Browne has both of those things in his favor. Schaub is an awesome competitor, but Browne is No. 3 for a reason. This fight will probably not go the entire three rounds. These guys are not known for stalling or trying to win by points. They go out and try to wreak havoc on each other. My prediction: Browne wins via TKO in the second round.
Disagree with me about the UFC 181 matches? Let me know via Twitter TKO in the second round. @BlitzWeekly and we’ll see who has better picks the night of the fights.