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UFC 181 ‘Hendricks vs. Lawler II’ extended preview and fight card info

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On December 6th the 13th and final PPV offering of the UFC’s 2014 campaign will take place inside of the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada – and it features not one, but two major title fights. The first will be for Anthony Pettis’ lightweight crown and it will mark the first time (462 days) that Pettis has defended the UFC lightweight title since submitting Benson Henderson in shocking fashion all the way back at UFC 164 in Milwaukee.

For Melendez, it will his second shot at UFC gold in just his third fight for the promotion. The former Strikeforce champion is no stranger to title fights though. The 6-time defending Strikeforce champ fought in 10 title fights during his run with the San Jose based promotion before they were absolved by the UFC. Fighting for the belt on the biggest stage is right where Melendez belongs.

The main event of the evening will also mark the first title defense from a man who has been sorely missed inside of the octagon – Johny Hendricks. When the cage doors close behind Hendricks and Lawler for the second time this year it will be 266 days since they first went the distance in a fight that still sits right at the top of anyone’s best of 2014 list. That fight marked the first time someone not named Georges or Matt competed for UFC welterweight gold since 2001, and it was a welcome beginning to a new era of the 170 lbs. division.

The PPV portion of the card also features two heavyweight slugfests that likely won’t end with any controversial judges decisions due to the sheer firepower all four men carry in their hands. Top ranked Travis Browne will be fighting for the first time since leaving the team of Jackson-Wink to join the Glendale Fight Club and he’ll be looking to protect his spot near the top of the division when he takes on TUF 10 runner-up Brendan Schaub.

Before Browne and Schaub go to war, Todd Duffee will look to score another KO finish when he takes on former MFC champion Anthony Hamilton. Every single Duffee fight, most notably his 7-second destruction of Tim Hague back in 2009, has ending with someone eating the canvas. Don’t expect this night to be any different.

Fresh off a huge win in his first stint as a PPV co-main eventer, ‘El Cucuy’ himself, Tony Ferguson, will look to take out another shark hungry for blood in the crowded 155 lbs. division in UFC 169 KO of the night winner Abel Trujillo. Trujillo’s KO of former WEC lightweight champ Jamie Varner was the one memorable moment of that dreaded Calgary PPV back in February, and it’s one of the main reasons why the UFC feels very comfortable having him open this PPV.

The loaded prelim card features perennial title contender and former WEC champion Urijah Faber making his second straight appearance on FOX Sports 1 when he takes on the always dangerous and extremely violent finisher Francisco Rivera. TUF 19’s middleweight and light heavyweight winners Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson will fight back to back when they take on Josh Samman and the undefeated Justin Jones respectively. Before that happens, the UFC debut of Ashlee Evans-Smith will open the FS1 portion of the night when she faces a tough test in TUF 18’s Raquel ‘Rocky’ Pennington.

On the UFC Fight pass portion of the card, Sergio Pettis will look to get the family off to a hot start when he faces former Legacy FC champion Matt Hobar following a featherweight tussle between Alex White and Clay Collard. That fight will open up this 12-fight card just after 4 p.m. in Vegas – 7 p.m. in the East.

Main Card (10 p.m. – PPV)

• Welterweight Title Rematch: Johny Hendricks (C) (16-2) vs. Robbie Lawler (24-10)

• Lightweight Title Bout: Anthony Pettis (C) (17-2) vs. Gilbert Melendez (22-3)

• Heavyweight Bout: Travis Browne (16-2-1) vs. Brendan Schaub (10-4)

• Heavyweight Bout: Todd Duffee (8-2) vs. Anthony Hamilton (13-3)

• Lightweight Bout: Tony Ferguson (16-3) vs. Abel Trujillo (12-5)

Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET – FOX Sports 1)

• Bantamweight Bout: Urijah Faber (31-7) vs. Francisco Rivera (10-3)

• Middleweight Bout: Eddie Gordon (7-1) vs. Josh Samman (10-2)

• Light Heavyweight Bout: Corey Anderson (4-0) vs. Justin Jones (3-0)

• Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Raquel Pennington (4-4) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith (3-0)

Preliminary Card ( 7 p.m. ET – UFC Fight Pass)

• Bantamweight Bout: Sergio Pettis (11-1) vs. Matt Hobar (9-2)

• Featherweight Bout: Alex White (10-1) vs. Clay Collard (13-5)

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