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Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez *Tentatively* Booked for UFC 181 on December 6th (Tentatively.)

(Your captions, please. via Pettis’ Twitter)

I would like to begin this article by proposing a new category for this year’s Potato Awards, “Most Excruciating Absence By a Champion (a.k.a “The Dominator Award”)” and preemptively awarding it to lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Or maybe Cain Velasquez. No, definitely Pettis. Iiiit’s been nearly a year since we last saw “Showtime” secure said championship via a first round submission over Ben Henderson, and thanks to his coaching gig opposite Gilbert Melendez on TUF 20, it will be at least another half a year before we see him compete again.

That’s because earlier today, Pettis told MMAFighting that his fight against Melendez has been scheduled for December 6th at UFC 181. I honest-to-God want to believe that both men will make it to that date intact, but the TUF coaches curse has fooled me five too many times to place any real faith in Pettis’ words. But there you have it: December 6th. UFC 181. Vegas.

As for how the season itself is going, Pettis seems to have found the space between “it sucks” and “ERMAHGERD BERST SERSERN ERVER!!!” that Dana White has never been able to:

I didn’t know what to expect when I came to this show. This was my first time seeing all these. I show up to gym the first day to see who we’re coaching, and I was impressed. These girls have skills. I’m pretty judgmental when it comes down to real skills, I can tell if somebody is tough and they think they can fight of if they actually have real skills. Some of these ladies have it. They throw. The fights that we’ve had so far, that’s going to be a fun season.

Now this, I can get behind. It would be almost impossible to argue that TUF 20 *isn’t* the most stacked season of the show since, I dunno, season 14? Our girl Thug Rose, Tecia Torres, Bec Hyatt, Carla Esparza, Jessica Penne…the list goes on (that Ariel Helwani chick seems like a real dramaqueen, tho). And with an actual title on the line, methinks this season’s contestants will actually put forth the effort that was sadly lacking in season 19. How we haven’t already been promised a super-sick KO that beats Uriah Halls is anyone’s guess.

-J. Jones

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