It’s been an interesting year for the UFC; they were able to strength their position in some foreign markets, but there overall viewership here in the U.S. has taken a hit due to the overwhelming number of events they held. But the organization is looking to end the year on a high note with their final pay per view of 2014; UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II.

As a fan, you have to be absolutely thrilled about this card as it is exactly what you have been screaming for from the UFC; a stacked PPV card from top to bottom that is well worth your hard earned dollars. UFC 181 fits that bill perfectly.

The event features an under card of potentially exciting fights and the “real” UFC debuts of TUF 19 winners Eddie Gordon and Corey Anderson. Oh yeah, and then there is the feature bout on the preliminary card between Urijah Faber and Francisco Rivera.

The PPV main card features a lightweight bout between talented prospects looking to become contenders and two heavyweight bouts that will produce major fireworks. Then to top it all off, fans will be treated to two title fights both with “Fight of the Year” potential. First in the co-main event, UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis looks to defend his title against the always entertaining Gilbert Melendez. To cap the night off, fan will be given the opportunity to witness a UFC welterweight title rematch between champion Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.

Check out the predictions below.

 

Tony Ferguson vs. Abel Trujillo

Kicking off the PPV main card is a lightweight clash between Ferguson and Trujillo; two fighters knocking of the door of contender status. Ferguson and Trujillo are very similar as both have solid wrestling background, both have effective striking and good power and both have underrated submission skills.

This is a coin flip battle in my opinion and as such, I have to believe that level of competition will be the deciding factor. Ferguson’s competition has been just a little bit better at this point in his career and that experience help carry him to victory.

The Prediction: Ferguson via Unanimous Decision

 

Todd Duffee vs. Anthony Hamilton

Remember when Duffee burst onto the UFC scene with an incredible seven second knockout in his UFC? Then he lost and got cut by the UFC, and then he lost again. Then after a nearly two year hiatus, he returned with back-to-back first round knockout victories in 2012. After two years out of action again this time due to injury, Duffee is back and ready to prove he is a serious threat to the UFC heavyweight title.

Duffee’s opponent in this bout may not be a household name, but don’t sleep on Hamilton here. Hamilton is trained by Greg Jackson and he has big time knockout power. If Duffee drops his guard, Hamilton has the fire power to end the fight quickly.

Even though Hamilton is a solid challenger Duffee is a beast, and in this thin UFC heavyweight division, all he needs to do is string three wins together before he is vying for a title shot.

The Prediction: Duffee via First Round TKO

 

Travis Browne vs. Brendan Schaub

The third fight of the main card features a heavyweight bout between Browne and Schaub; both of whom are looking to rebound from losses in their last outings. This is a matchup that I am really excited for and I fully believe that the winner of this bout will take home one of the “Performance of the Night” bonuses.

I’ve always liked Schaub and I know he is a talented fighter, but I just can’t help but thinking he is overmatched here. He has great power and athleticism, but when he fights an upper echelon heavyweight, he gets exposed. Schaub does have the tools to beat Browne though.

While I’m not completely sold on Browne being a legitimate top contender, he has dispatched some top opponents and I look for him to have an impressive showing against Schaub.

The Prediction: Browne via First Round KO

 

Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez

The co-main event of the evening is going to be a barn burner as Pettis and Melendez are two of the most exciting fighters in the UFC today. Melendez is fun to watch because he is always moving forward pressuring his opponents while Pettis is exciting because of his dynamic striking game.

Point blank this fight is about distance. If Melendez can close the distance and force Pettis into a brawl, it’s his fight to lose. But if Pettis is able to fight on the outside, Melendez is in real trouble as Pettis’ striking game is so varied and dynamic. Melendez needs this fight to be ugly to have a real chance.

For a moment, I was buying into Pettis saying that he would finish Melendez in the first round, but the more I think about it, I know that is not going to happen. Melendez is tough as nails and he has never been finished for a reason. But Melendez’s toughness won’t win him this fight.

The Prediction: Pettis via Unanimous Decision

 

Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler

Now we come to the main event of the evening and a rematch I am excited to see between Hendricks and Lawler. Their first bout was an incredible back and forth contest that really came down to Hendricks’ well timed takedowns.

This time though I think things are going to be different. Their first fight was so close that Lawler only has to make a few minor adjustments to change the outcome, and having fought twice since his loss to Hendricks, Lawler has been fine tuning his game and he looks better than ever.

In my humble opinion, this fight hinges on takedowns. If Hendricks can secure takedowns late to steal rounds then he will likely win this bout. But if Lawler can stay on his feet, he has a great chance at becoming the new UFC welterweight champion.

The Prediction: Lawler via Unanimous Decision