UFC 173 gets new championship main event with Barao vs. Dillashaw, Lawler vs. Ellenberger also added

Renan Barao
UFC bantamweight champ Renan Barao

After UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s recent knee injury, his UFC 173 scheduled title defense against Lyoto Machida has been pushed back to July. Filling the main event slot on May 24 will be UFC bantamweight champ Renan Barao putting his title and 35 fight unbeaten streak up against 135-pound challenger TJ Dillashaw.

UFC officials announced the new headliner on Friday. Dillashaw was originally supposed to fight Francisco Rivera on the card. Instead, No. 7 ranked Takeya Mizugaki will step in against Rivera.

Barao (32-1, 1 NC) hasn’t lost a bout since his pro debut in 2005. He is 7-0 inside the UFC Octagon and is coming off a first round TKO win over Urijah Faber in February.

Dillashaw (9-2) is currently ranked No. 5 among UFC bantamweights. He is 5-2 inside the Octagon and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Mike Easton in January. In his fight just prior to that he dropped a close split decision to Raphael Assuncao last October.

In addition to the new UFC 173 headliner, a match-up between hard-hitting welterweights Robbie Lawler and Jake Ellenberger has also been added to the card. Ellenberger was slated to fight Tarec Saffiedine at UFC 172 next month, but an injury forced Saffiedine out and now Ellenberger ends up at UFC 173 against Lawler. It’s like musical chairs.

Lawler (22-10, 1 NC) is coming off a controversial decision loss to Johny Hendricks for the UFC welterweight championship earlier this month. It was a “fight of the year” caliber performance that left many wanting to see more of “Ruthless”. Prior to that he’d won three straight, knocking out Bobby Voelker and Josh Koscheck, and scoring a split decision over Rory MacDonald.

Ellenberger (29-7) last fought in July 2013, losing a unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald. Prior to that he had won back-to-back fights over Nate Marquardt and Jay Hieron. With Lawler ranked at No. 1 and Ellenberger at No. 5, an impressive win for either fighter could put them right into title contention.

With these changes, the UFC 173 card in Las Vegas now includes:

  • Renan Barao vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for UFC bantamweight title
  • Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic
  • Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler
  • Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno
  • James Krause vs. Jamie Varner
  • Chris Holdsworth vs. Kyung Ho Kang
  • Mitch Clarke vs. Al Iaquinta
  • Michael Chiesa vs. Francisco Trinaldo
  • Anthony Njokuani vs. Vinc Pichel
  • Yves Edwards vs. Piotr Hallmann
  • Doo Ho Choi vs. Sam Sicilia
  • Jingliang Li vs. Danny Mitchell

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