If your heart’s not throbbing for UFC 181, well, you might want to check your pulse.

On Saturday, December 6, the UFC will attempt to replace an unforgettable year of injuries when they travel back to Las Vegas, Nevada for another weekend of fights. UFC 181 will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center beginning at 10 pm here on the East Coast and 7 pm PT.

In the jam-packed card, Johny Hendricks will throw his title up for grabs in a rematch with Robbie Lawler. Anthony Pettis will return from a year-long hibernation to meet Gilbert Melendez in a lightweight championship bout.

With Josh Davis catching rays under the Mexico sun, I’m here to cash in predictions for every main card fight.

Check them out below.

 

Tony Ferguson vs. Abel Trujillo

Believe it or not, this fight has more implications for the lightweight division than can be seen from the surface. Ferguson is the type of fighter who wants to stand and exchange and Trujillo will be more than game. But the quick-witted attack for Ferguson would be shooting for the takedown early and often. Hopefully stubbornness doesn’t get in the way of Ferguson capturing his fourth consecutive win. If he can control the pace and keep his distance, look for Ferguson to come out on top in a close one.

Prediction: Ferguson by Decision

 

Todd Duffee vs. Anthony Hamilton

Raise your hand if you’re skeptical of Duffee’s most recent finish over Phil De Fries? That makes a lot of us. Duffee in the norm, bullies his opponents until the brink of defeat. But, that track record causes reason for concern. Hamilton is by no means a pushover as he’s established himself as a threat with heavy hands. Don’t expect this one to see the judge’s scorecards.

Prediction: Duffee by KO, Round 2

 

Travis Browne vs. Brendan Schaub

We all know that Schaub was a victim of highway robbery in his most recent showing against Andre Arlovski. But in all reality, Schaub has no one but to blame for himself for the outcome. Browne is on a whole different level in regards to fighting style and relevancy in the current heavyweight title picture. Browne’s kicks and overhand right will eventually connect on the suspect chin of Schaub.

Prediction: Browne by KO, Round 2

 

Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez

We can all thank the MMA gods for this one. It’s been far too long since we’ve seen Pettis showcase his skills inside the octagon. This matchup is intriguing in the sense that we haven’t seen Pettis face much adversity in his UFC career, with the exception of a scrap with Clay Guida. Melendez will undoubtedly press forward and force Pettis to stand and trade shots. On the contrast, Melendez better be prepared for some vicious kicks along with whatever else “Showtime” has built up in that repertoire. “And Still”.

Prediction: Pettis by Decision

 

Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler

Just when you thought it couldn’t get much better than our co-main evententer Hendricks vs. Lawler II. In their first meeting at UFC 171, Hendricks dominated the opening two frames before almost falling off the tracks. Hendricks did enough in the fifth and final round to claim the welterweight strap, but it was an apparent injury the held “Bigg Rigg” back from dominating all five rounds. If a healthy Hendricks returns to the octagon, I envision a similar outcome, only much more dominant. That says a lot against an opponent like Lawler. Advantage Hendricks.

Predictions: Hendricks by Decision

 

Follow @GarrettDerr on Twitter.

 

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