UFC 181 features 2 champs putting their straps on the line for the first time. After missing a significant amount of time due to injury, Johny Hendricks and Anthony Pettis are back. Also on the card is a pair of heavyweight scraps, the California Kid, and a couple of high-octane scraps. Here is my take on how it all unfolds:
Fight Pass Prelims:
• Alex White vs Clay Collard is my pick for Fight of the Night, so log on early! Collard may have got his ass kicked by Max Holloway in his UFC debut, but he won the heart of the fans in the process. This kid has heart and a lot of potential. However, Alex White has more tools to get the W. Alex White via decision.
• Sergio Pettis vs Matt Hobar is seemingly an easy matchup for Pettis. Let’s see if he shows some killer instinct and finishes Hobar in devastating fashion. I predict just a dominant decision for Pettis…. Call me skeptic.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims:
• Ashlee Evans-Smith is coming into her UFC debut on short notice against Raquel Pennington with a lot of momentum. She became the CFA champion by beating controversial fighter Fallon Fox which gained her much more attention in the MMA universe. Since then she has fought once and won in WSOF and now she is debuting in the big show. To say I’m upset Holly Holm is out of her UFC debut is an understatement, but the arrival of Evans-Smith is definitely something to be excited about. Her opponent Pennington is best known for her awesome scraps on TUF, including the Fight of the Season vs Jessamyn Duke. I expect this to be a good scrap, but the wrestling of Ashlee should be enough for her to steal a few rounds and the win. Ashlee Evans-Smith via decision.
• Corey Anderson won a very forgettable season of TUF but he is still my pick to win Saturday night. The reason, Justin “Lazy Bones” Jones is the stupidest nickname ever. I pick Anderson via KO out of principle.
• Also a forgettable TUF 19 winner is Eddie Gordon while Josh Samman took part in a very talented season of TUF. Samman eventually lost to Kelvin Gastelum, but Gastelum just beat Jake Ellenberger so there isn’t too much shame in that. This should be another entertaining scrap which I see Samman winning via decision.
• Urijah Faber will tag Francisco Rivera early and jump on his neck as he so frequently loves to do. Faber snags another guillotine finish for yet another win.
Pay-Per View: This one is worth buying people!
• When Abel Trujillo is on the roster, I’m tuning in for the fights! He quickly became one of my favorite fighters, and his win over Jamie Varner propelled him into contender status as well. It was an awesome fight that turned heads to just how dangerous this guy is. His opponent, Tony Ferguson, is also an exciting fighter who deserves respect as a potential contender. He won a controversial decision in his last fight, but neither him nor Trujillo plan on seeing a decision to kick of this PPV. Trujillo has more power and a chin to match. Abel Trujillo with a “Killa” KO in the first round.
• Todd Duffee via KO over Anthony Hamilton.
• A top 5 heavyweight vs a glass chin….Travis Browne KO’s Brendan Schaub into obscurity.
• So I’m not sure if you could tell by my confidence in little Pettis, but I am not a believer in this family. Anthony Pettis is talented and can flat-out finish anybody in the UFC’s lightweight division. He deserves to be champion, no doubt about it. However, he is so overrated. Just as easily as he could finish you in the first round, he can be stopped. Clay Guida is dropping featherweight fights like it’s the newest trend, and he whooped Anthony Pettis handily. It may have been boring, but effective. That brings me to Gilbert Melendez. Forget that many didn’t know Gilbert from his dominance in Strikeforce forever. It’s ok, because UFC fans got accustomed to him very quickly. He lost a controversial decision to the controversial decision monster (Benson Henderson) and took home a Fight of the Night bonus. He then put on one of the best fights in the history of MMA against Diego Sanchez to follow it up at UFC 166. His coaching may have been subpar on TUF unless his girl Rose emerges as champion, but that takes nothing away from his abilities. I believe he is the best lightweight on the planet and he will show everyone that when he finishes Anthony Pettis this Saturday. I am worried that he often gets tagged by kicks to the body, which is the only way I see Pettis winning. His excellent boxing, wrestling, and ground game should be enough to get it done and become the new champion. Gilbert Melendez by TKO with late round ground and pound.
• Johny Hendricks beat him once and Johny Hendricks can do it again. I’m already over this match and on to Hendricks vs MacDonald. See you in Canada welterweight title! Ok fine, I’ll break down this fight. Robbie Lawler is devastating, he’s talented, he’s exciting, and he’s a fan favorite. That is why he is back in a title fight so quickly. He destroyed Jake Ellenberger, but that guy couldn’t buy a win these days. Then he went on to beat Matt Brown. Ok that man was on a tear and is still one of the best fighters in the division. But he was far from perfect in that fight. He didn’t put Brown away, not that many men can. Also, he was tagged by Brown quite a bit. Take Hendricks, a man with better striking than Brown, more power, and arguably the best wrestling in the division and you have a winner. Hendricks is better than Lawler everywhere. Lawler kicks a bit better, but Hendricks has just as good of a striking game. I’m sorry Lawler fans, but he does not win this fight. Hendricks wins via KO within 3 rounds. See you in Canada welterweight title!!! See you in Canada.
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