UFC 173: Lawler vs. EllenbergerSaturday, May 24 – 10:00 p.m. ET
Las Vegas, NV
Robbie Lawler (22-10) vs. Jake Ellenberger (29-7)Welterweight bout
Line: Lawler -210, Ellenberger +170
Robbie Lawler looks to bounce back from a tough loss as he goes up against a very talented fighter in Jake Ellenberger at UFC 173 on Saturday night.
Lawler earned the nickname “Ruthless” in large part because of his ability to turn any fight into an all-out brawl. In his last match on March 15, he lost to Johny Hendricks in an interim welterweight title bout by way of unanimous decision. That was a very competitive fight (significant strikes were 158 to 150), and that match showed how talented Lawler is. A win in Saturday's fight would put him right back at the top of the ladder for another title bout. However, it will not be easy against a talented fighter in Jake Ellenberger. Like Lawler, Ellenberger is coming off a tough defeat in his last match, as he lost to Rory MacDonald by unanimous decision on July 27, 2013 at UFC on FOX 8. That match was nearly 10 months ago, and Ellenberger should come into this match healthy and ready to go. The 29-year-old ELLENBERGER has a chance in his own right to get in the title talks, and will come out swinging early and set the tone for a big upset victory.
Ellenberger has 29 wins in his career, with 20 of them coming by way of knockout. The former U.S. Marine also has six wins by decision and three by submission, and is 12-3 in his past 15 matches. "The Juggernaut" Ellenberger's big advantage in this match will be his grappling game, as he is a great wrestler going back to his days at D-II powerhouse Nebraska-Omaha. He has a takedown average of 2.69, compared to only 1.12 for Lawler. He is not only great taking his opponent down to the mat, but he also does a great job of defending against the takedown with a 93% takedown defense, compared to 65% for Lawler. This is a big opportunity for Ellenberger, but he has to come out and fight his style. If he gets tricked into throwing punches with Lawler, he could be in big trouble.
Of Lawler’s 22 career victories, 18 of them have come by way of knockout. He also has three wins by decision and only one by submission, but he has 12 first-round finishes in his career. Lawler will have a big advantage when it comes to landing significant strikes, landing an average of 3.29 per minute compared to only 2.47 for Ellenberger. Lawler is also more accurate with his strikes (43%) than his opponent (40%) and holds a one-inch height advantage at 5-foot-11. Lawler does a terrific job throwing his punches, but he also has the ability to do major damage with a leg kick. While this is a big opportunity for Ellenberger, the 32-year-old Lawler is actually in the better position to get a title bout. Ellenberger has shown he can knock his opponent out, but a brawl will be just what Lawler really wants. While this is not the main fight on the card, this has the makings of Fight of the Night consideration.