Fight night has finally arrived ladies and gents!
Get all the info you need with our UFC 181: "Hendricks vs Lawler 2" fight day preview for the pay-per-view (PPV) event, which goes down later this evening (Sat., Dec. 6, 2014) with an outstanding mixed martial arts (MMA) card for the fans in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Catch all the action LIVE from Mandalay Bay Events Center with a PPV main card start time of 10 p.m. ET (for up-to-date UFC 181 results click here).
Below is everything you need to know to stay on top of UFC's massive end of the year PPV:
Who: Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler for UFC welterweight championship, and Anthony Pettis vs Gilbert Melendez for UFC lightweight championship
What: UFC 181
When: Sat., Dec. 6, 2014, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1
Where: Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
How To Watch: PPV main card at 10 p.m ET; FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" under card at 8 p.m ET; and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" at 7 p.m. ET.
Live UFC 181 results: Play-by-play coverage stream right here
Why It Matters: UFC 181 is arguably the best PPV of the year ... and it is really as simple as that. With fans and pundits alike complaining about watered-down cards and a far too busy schedule, UFC pulled out all the stops for this PPV, delivering two sensational title fights surrounded by outstanding match ups throughout the card. With the landscape of UFC potentially changing drastically in one evening, how could you not be excited about the prospects of this event? If you are a fan of high quality MMA, look no further than tonight's PPV. With two title fights featuring four of the very best martial artists on the planet, fight fans have a lot to look forward to in this epic evening of fisticuffs.
What's Hot: In UFC's 300th event, the organization put together an exceptional card. I simply can not applaud UFC enough for putting together such an outstanding event for 2014's final PPV. In a rematch of arguably the year's best fight, fans will watch Johny Hendricks attempt to defend his title against the dangerous Robbie Lawler in the main event. In the co-main event, UFC is featuring arguably the most diverse and savvy striker in MMA today with Anthony Pettis taking on former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez. This card truly has it all for fight fans, and there will certainly be a ton of conversation pieces around the water cooler Monday.
What's Not: When you look at the UFC 181 card, do you see anything that sticks out like a sore thumb to you? Does anything about this event irk you? The answer in my mind is absolutely not, so I would have to say there is nothing truly negative about this card.
-- Ashlee Evans-Smith (vs. Raquel Pennington) 3-0, including two (technical) knockouts. Evans-Smith has competed in WSOF once, and her most notable victory comes over controversial transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox via TKO. Evans-Smith also holds an amateur victory over former UFC competitor Jessamyn Duke. The women's bantamweight is getting her shot in the Octagon after the highly touted Holly Holm was forced to withdraw from her bout at UFC 181 with an injury.
-- Justin Jones (vs. Corey Anderson) 3-0, including two submissions and one (technical) knockout. Jones competed in RFA and BAMMA USA, but has yet to defeat anyone noteworthy. Jones is a natural middleweight, but is taking his UFC debut at 205 on short notice.
Original Card vs Actual Card: For a card that has seen quite a number of competitors fall to the wayside thanks to injuries, UFC did a wonderful job in maintaining a solid card throughout, disallowing the injury bug to truly hamper the event as we have often seen in 2014.
UFC 181 was initially slated to be headlined by the middleweight championship bout between Chris Weidman and No. 1 contender Vitor Belfort. Unfortunately, in late September, Weidman broke his hand, once again forcing the title fight to be postponed. UFC acted quickly to name the new main event, and settled upon the welterweight title rematch between Hendricks and Lawler.
The other major injury from this card was incurred only a few weeks ago as Holly Holm injured her neck in training, forcing her out of her scheduled Octagon debut against Raquel Pennington. UFC signed Ashlee Evans-Smith to take her place against Pennington on the "Prelims."
Light heavyweight Gian Villante was set to take on Corey Anderson in the "Prelims" portion of UFC 181, but an injury to Villante forced him off the card. Villante's replacement, Jonathan Wilson, suffered an injury, too, forcing UFC to sign Justin Jones for a fight above his natural weight class.
How The "Prelims" Look: Very exciting on paper!
UFC 181's "Prelims" may not provide many "name" fighters (barring former WEC champion Urijah Faber), but do not underestimate the mettle of those set to battle on the FS1 and Fight Pass portion of the event.
The two UFC Fight Pass bouts could easily provide back-and-forth affairs as Anthony Pettis' younger brother Sergio takes on Matt Hobar, and the brawler Clay Collard returns in search of his first UFC victory against the equally exciting Alex White.
The FOX Sports 1 "Prelims" feature an outstanding main event between Faber and heavy handed Francisco Rivera, as well as the return of the most recent The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winners in Corey Anderson and Eddie Gordon.
Simply put, do not miss these "Prelims."
Who Needs a Win Badly: This portion is reserved for fighters who could be fighting for their jobs tonight, rather than contenders or title challengers needing victory. Let's take a look at those who need to pull it together:
-- Raquel Pennington (vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith): Apparently being 4-4, and losing your UFC debut earns you a spot as No. 13 in the Women's Bantamweight rankings. In a division dominated by Ronda Rousey, the contenders are getting thinner by the day, and if Pennington cannot pull out the victory this weekend, the division may lose another "contender".
While a loss for Pennington does not necessarily guarantee her release from UFC, the former TUF competitor needs to pull out all the stops in order to keep her job secure come Sunday morning.
-- Clay Collard (vs. Alex White): Clay Collard made his UFC debut on very short notice against an extremely tough competitor in Max Holloway, and instead of wilting early on as many expected, Collard put on a show displaying his heart, talent, and ferocity inside the Octagon. If you watched Collard's debut, then you immediately became a fan of The Pit prospect.
Ultimately, Collard lost the bout via TKO late in the third round, so another finish loss could spell the end of his UFC career this evening. In my opinion, Collard should get at least one more shot inside the Octagon regardless of whether he wins tonight.
Interest Level: 10/10
After a series of ghastly PPV offerings (barring UFC 178), UFC has put together the year's best card in the final PPV of 2014.
Hopefully acting as a bridge into a 2015 full of similarly outstanding PPV's, UFC 181 has the opportunity to become one of the most historic and remembered PPV's in UFC and MMA history.
UFC brass have done its job putting together an excellent event that is worthy of the price tag, and now it is the fighters turn to put on a show for the thousands of viewers watching.
All that is left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show fight fans!
Check out the full UFC 181: "Hendricks vs Lawler 2" fight card below:
PPV Main Event:
170 lbs.: UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler
PPV Co-Main Event:
155 lbs.: UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez
PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Travis Browne vs. Brendan Schaub
265 lbs.: Todd Duffee vs. Anthony Hamilton
155 lbs.: Tony Ferguson vs. Abel Trujillo
FOX Sports 1 Prelims (8 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Urijah Faber vs. Francisco Rivera
185 lbs.: Eddie Gordon vs. Josh Samman
205 lbs.: Corey Anderson vs. Justin Jones
135 lbs.: Raquel Pennington vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
Fight Pass Prelims (7 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Sergio Pettis vs. Matt Hobar
145 lbs.: Clay Collard vs. Alex White
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 181 card TONIGHT, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET before the PPV main card begins at 10 p.m. ET.
See you then!