UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has a lot to prove when he finally returns to the octagon to battle Gilbert Melendez in the co-main event of tonight’s UFC 181 pay-per-view (PPV) from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pettis last fought when he submitted Benson Henderson for the belt at UFC 164. He’ll be coming into UFC 181 off of a 15-month layoff from knee surgery and a stint opposite Melendez on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 20.

Long absence aside, most are predicting the flashy “Showtime” to win and win big. Despite fighting very sparingly over the past three years, Pettis has shown a deadly affinity for finishing his foes in the first round when he does.

However, his opponent “El Nino” is a former Strikeforce champ who has never been finished. There’s no doubt that Pettis has a clear advantage when it comes to striking, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few pivotal factors working against him heading into UFC 181.

With the odds in his favor, here are three ways that Anthony Pettis could lose the belt in Las Vegas tonight:

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