A training injury to Tarec Saffiedine has given way to an intriguing Top 10 welterweight fight.
Saffiedine, who was slated to meet Jake Ellenberger at UFC 172, had to withdraw from the bout. As a result, Ellenberger will now meet “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler at UFC 173 in Las Vegas. MMAFighting.com confirmed Friday’s initial report by MMAJunkie.com.
Lawler (21-10, 1 NC) will look to get back into the win column after coming up a hair short in his thrilling bout with Johny Hendricks to fill the vacant welterweight title at UFC 173. The resurgent American Top Team fighter won three straight fights leading up to the Hendricks encounter.
Ellenberger (29-7), meanwhile, has been eager to remove the stench of his loss to Rory MacDonald last summer at UFC on FOX 8 in Seattle. Ellenberger has been victorious in eight of his past 10 fights.
While the UFC took some heat after announcing a main event of bantamweight champion Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw for the May 24 event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the lineup as a whole looks solid: In addition to Barao-Dillashaw and Lawler-Ellenberger, matches already announced include Junior dos Santos‘ return fight against Stipe Miocic, and what promises to be an action-packed affair between Takeya Mizugaki and Francisco Rivera.
UPDATE: A source close to the situation told MMAFighting.com’s Guillherme Cruz that Saffiedine suffered a cervical injury, which occurred when Saffiedine’s back was pushed into the wall as he attempted to defend a takedown. The former Strikeforce champ is expected to return to training in six weeks.
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