UFC 181 is like a treasure island glistening on the horizon for us weary travelers who have boarded this ship of mixed martial arts fandom.

In another year where seemingly every card had at least one major name drop out due to injury, UFC 181 has made it through relatively unscathed. As much as we’d like to see the promotion debut of Holly Holm, we’ll be patient while she recovers from her neck injury and prepares for a rumored-early 2015 return.

But let us rejoice in the fact that we have two title fights and the fact that everybody did as I said and sacrificed to whatever deity they believe in to ensure Anthony Pettis’ health leading up to Fight Night.

All wood-knocking, rabbit foots, and lucky clovers aside, UFC 181 on December 6th from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas has everything you’d want in a pay-per-view. So let’s try and predict who will be the fighters to emerge as the stars of the UFC’s last pay-per-view card of the calendar year.

Performance of the Night

A couple of names jump right off the list in Urijah Faber, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Johny Hendricks and Travis Browne who have all combined for 17 fight night bonus awards in the UFC.

Odds are that one of these awards will be going to one of the four gentlemen listed above, but which one will it be? My pick is going to be Travis Browne. Three different fights have been able to score Knockout of the Night awards against Brendan Schaub, so I’ll put my chips on the Hawaiian heavyweight to pick up one of the bonus checks.

As for my other award prediction, I’m going to say it’ll be Pettis. If Pettis wins, I highly doubt it’ll be a decision. A fight that goes the distance, in my opinion, favors the more aggressive fighter in Gilbert Melendez. Pettis’ last two fights to go to decision resulted in a split-decision win over Jeremy Stephens and a loss against Clay Guida. The next three fights for Pettis were all finishes, all victories, and all bonus worthy.

If Pettis beats Melendez, he’ll probably be doing in spectacular fashion and walking away with some added cash from Dana White.

My darkhorse candidate is going to be Corey Anderson. He’s 3-0 in professional bouts with all three coming off TKO finishes. He’s also the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 19 and is up against Justin Jones who filled in for the injured Gian Villante only a month ago.

Fight of the Night

Much like the performance award streak Pettis is riding, Johny Hendricks is on a streak of three consecutive Fight of the Night awards. His last bonus-winning fight was against none other than Robbie Lawler himself, the man challenging for Hendricks’ welterweight championship.

Well, Hendricks won that bout but was sidelined after when he underwent surgery to help repair his bicep. In his absence, Lawler defeated Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown (Fight of the Night) to catapult himself back into contention.

What I am saying is that this fight has to be the favorite to take home this award. I, for one, am going back and forth on my prediction for this fight, but check out the Madman’s predictions here.