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UFC 181: Hendricks vs Lawler II predictions

Robbie Lawler was this close to winning the UFC welterweight crown at UFC 171. But Johny Hendricks outperformed him in the fifth and final round.

This time he says, things will be different.

The clock is ticking on Gilbert Melendez. Can he overcome the technical flamboyance of the UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis?

 

MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman is away, so Kenai Andrews steps in to share his thoughts on the card.

UFC 181

Courtesy UFC/Zuffa LLC.

UFC FIGHT PASS EARLY PRELIMS 7PM ET/4PM PT

ALEX “THE SPARTAN” WHITE (10-1-0) VS “CASSIUS” CLAY COLLARD (13-5-0, 1 NC)

UFC 181

Opponents Alex White and Clay Collard face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Collard is entertaining and this time he gets a full camp after giving Max Holloway a run for his money. If White can keep stick to the technical game plan on the feet and work Collard off the ground, he should pile up enough points for a unanimous decision. No extended wild exchanges.

Andrews Prediction: Alex White via unanimous decision.

SERGIO “THE PHENOM” PETTIS (11-1-0) VS MATT “THE CROWBAR” HOBAR (9-2-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Sergio Pettis and Matt Hobar face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa

Andrews: Both fighters have a decent ground game, but Pettis needs to utilize his strikes and take advantage of Hobar’s spotty takedown defence. Sergio should be able to outstrike Hobar and the ground long enough for a win.

Andrews Prediction: Sergio Pettis via unanimous decision.

SPORTSNET 360 PRELIMS 8PM ET/5PM PT

RAQUEL “ROCKY” PENNINGTON (4-5-0) VS ASHLEE EVANS-SMITH (3-0-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Raquel Pennington and Ashlee Evans-Smith face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Pennington has the experience factor, having lost to some though opponents. Evans-Smith comes in on short notice replacing Holly Holm. Evans-Smith striking skills are good, but Pennington’s are better, so it should be a decision win for Rocky.

Andrews Prediction: Raquel “Rocky” Pennington via unanimous decision.

COREY “BEASTIN 25/8” ANDERSON (5-0-0) VS JUSTIN “LAZYBONES” JONES (3-0-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Corey Anderson and Justin Jones face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Justin Jones makes his UFC debut here. Anderson does business knocking people out, while Jones works his ground game. Anderson will catch Jones before can pile up the points on the ground.

Andrews Prediction: Corey “Beastin 25/8” Anderson via TKO

EDDIE “TRUCK” GORDON (8-1-0) VS JOSH SAMMAN (10-3-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Eddie Gordon and Josh Samman face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Samman’s KO ratio is impressive, but can he knock out a truck or will he get flattened by it? It will be interesting, but I see Samman using knees and strikes to soften up Gordon.

Andrews Prediction: JOSH SAMMAN VIA TKO

#3 “THE CALIFORNIA KID” URIJAH FABER (31-7-0) VS #11 FRANCISO “CISCO” RIVERA (10-3-0, 1 NC)

UFC 181

Opponents Urijah Faber and Francisco Rivera face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Forget the MMA math. Faber is the gatekeeper for the top half of the division and Rivera is coming in on short notice. I can see him surprising Faber in the first round with a KO strike, but Faber is just better everywhere.

Andrews Prediction: “The California Kid” Urijah Faber via submission.

MAIN CARD (10PM ET/7PM PT)

TONY “EL CUCUY” FERGUSON (17-3-0) VS ABEL “KILLA” TRUJILLO (12-5-0, 1 NC)

UFC 181

Opponents Tony Ferguson and Abel Trujillo face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Tough fight to call, but Ferguson is the more dynamic fighter. As long as he stay upright with cardio, he should be able to pile up the points. If Trujillo can work Ferguson on the ground, his chances go up. Ferguson’s ability to adapt will be the key factor.

Andrews Prediction: Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson via unanimous decision

TODD DUFFEE (8-2-0) VS ANTHONY “FREIGHT TRAIN” HAMILTON (13-3-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Todd Duffee and Anthony Hamilton face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Don’t blink for this one. Hamilton is the bigger guy, but Duffee has a 7-second KO. As long as he doesn’t get crazy, I’m going to go with Todd.

Andrews Prediction: Todd Duffee via TKO

#3 TRAVIS “HAPA” BROWNE (16-2-1) VS BRENDAN “BIG BROWN” SCHAUB (11-4-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Travis Browne and Brendan Schaub face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: Hapa looked great against Josh Barnett and bad against Fabricio Werdum. Schaub likes to handle his business on the feet. Browne will be motivated to atone for his last performance, but Schaub will use his speed and technical striking to uproot him.

Andrews Prediction: Brendan “Big Brown” Schaub via TKO.

ANTHONY “SHOWTIME” PETTIS (17-2-0) VS GILBERT “EL NINO” MELENDEZ (22-3-0)

UFC 181

Opponents Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: It’s Showtime’s technical striking vs the unsexy ground game and toughness of Melendez. Clay Guida held down Pettis long enough for a win and this is what Melendez needs to do. Pettis will be ready for the shot and keep the fight standing long enough for a split-decision.

Andrews Prediction: Anthony “Showtime” Pettis via split-decision.

MAIN EVENT

JOHNY “BIGG RIGG” HENDRICKS (16-2-0) VS #1 “RUTHLESS” ROBBIE LAWLER (24-10-0, 1 NC)

UFC 181

Opponents Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler face off during the UFC 181 weigh-in inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center on December 5, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Andrews: This fight should be more of what we saw in UFC 171. A back-and-forth affair. Hendricks is the favourite with his wrestling tools, but I think Lawler will walk away the champion when the smoke is cleared. 

Andrews Prediction: “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler via TKO.

@kenaiandrews

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Predictions

Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.
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