Originally, Ellenberger was slated to fight Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172 in Baltimore next month. However, an injury Saffiedine sustained in training changed all that. Not to diss Saffiedine, but Ellenberger-Lawler is a much more exciting fight to daydream about.
Lawler is coming off a decision loss to Johny Hendricks in what was basically the fight of his life. He had the title within his grasp, but couldn’t reach it. Watching him (try to) bounce back will be interesting. Ellenberger, too, is coming off a loss. His was to Rory MacDonald at UFC on FOX 8 last July. He looked disinterested and flat. He’ll likely be looking to erase that performance with his efforts against Lawler.
UFC 173 needed a match like this—one between two top fighters that actually matter and that has implications in the weight class. The card started off well enough, with Chris Weidman vs.
Vitor Belfort Lyoto Machida as the main event. Then Weidman hurt his knee, and the MMA fandom collectively breathed a sigh of woe as the main event became Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw. But thanks to Ellenberger-Lawler, as well as Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic, UFC 173 might actually be worth paying for now.