It may not be a headlining bout, but one of the biggest fights this weekend will be between former top welterweight contender Robbie Lawler and longtime top ten talent Jake Ellenberger. Lawler is looking to rebound quickly from a loss to Johny Hendricks and has stepped in to replace Tarec Saffiedine for a spot on the UFC 173 main card. Ellenberger will also be coming off a loss, a unanimous decision performance against Rory MacDonald that many felt was one of the worst of his career. With the title picture currently cloudy, the winner of a bout between Ellenberger and Lawler definitely would have significant leverage on the way to a future title shot.
Here's what Ellenberger had to say to Fight Hub TV about the matchup:
I'm stoked, it's a top guy. I'm not really wasting any time and it's still a southpaw, similar guy. Little different... I think a lot of people kind of give Robbie a little too much respect. But, you know, in this sport you can't fight like that. So, it's a great matchup, a great fight. I've known Robbie for a long time too, so...
Yeah, one of the first guys I actually trained with back in 2005 at Pat Miletich's gym. But, yeah, nice guy. He's been a pioneer of the sport for sure.
He also spoke about Lawler's last fight, against Johny Hendricks, and why he felt it wasn't the best performance from either man:
It was kind of... In a way it was kind of dissapointing. They both weren't on their "A-game" a little. But, it was an exciting back and forth fight. I think he could have won the fight, he kind of gave it to him in the fifth a little bit. But, Johny had an off night and he still was able to come away with the title. But it was... Yeah, I learned a lot from him in that fight.
Jake Ellenberger and Robbie Lawler will face off at UFC 173 this Saturday, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here's a look at the card as it currently stands: