UFC 173 – which is slated for May 24 – will be headlined by champ Renan Barao and challenger TJ Dillashaw, and the co-main event will see Daniel Cormier taking on Dan Henderson. But the third fight from the top is an intriguing one. Coming off an impressive (but ultimately failed) bid at the welterweight title, Robbie Lawler will step into the cage to clash with Jake Ellenberger, in a contest that has “punch until you’re dead” written all over it.
Sporting heavy hands that has put away more than a few would-be contenders, Ellenberger is at a career crossroads. Is he elite? Can he put together enough wins to stake a claim for the belt? Or is he merely an elite gatekeeper?
Thus far, we’ve seen him crumble under the weight of extended battles and questionable cardio, and now his list of Octagon losses is comprised of the names Carlos Condit, Martin Kampann and Rory MacDonald. But still, there’s Ellenberger’s ability to end things suddenly and violently – a trait that, if he can manage it, tends to make for fan-favorites with upward momentum.
It’s highly unlikely that the life-long striker Lawler will be seeking his fortunes on the ground at UFC 173, so when he and Ellenberger start throwing leather, we’ll soon have a better idea of who among them will deserve a crack at the champ.
Ponder that while you watch Ellenberger crush Nate Marquardt below.