A training injury has forced Tarec Saffiedine out of his scheduled fight with Jake Ellenberger at UFC 172. Ellenberger, however, will still fight, but it will be a month later at UFC 173, where he will face Robbie Lawler.
MMAWeekly.com on Friday confirmed the changes, initially reported by MMAJunkie.com citing UFC president Dana White. UFC officials later announced the bout via Twitter.
This is the second time that Saffiedine vs. Ellenberger has been cancelled. The two were originally supposed to have met in the main event of the UFC Fight Night in Singapore in January. Ellenberger had to withdraw from that card due to injury.
Ellenberger will fight Lawler at UFC 173, which has already undergone a tremendous amount of change recently.
The original UFC 173 main event between Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort was nixed when it was deemed too risky for Belfort to navigate the licensing process when the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned applications for testosterone replacement therapy exemptions.
Weidman was then expected to defend against Lyoto Machida, but that fight was moved to UFC 175 in July when Weidman suffered from recurring knee issues and opted for surgery.
UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barão now headlines UFC 173 on May 24 in Las Vegas, putting his belt on the line against TJ Dillashaw.
Having been sidelined with the hamstring injury for his planned January bout, Ellenberger (29-7) will have been out of action for nearly a year when he steps in the Octagon with Lawler. Ellenberger last fought in July of 2013, losing a unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald.
Lawler (22-10, 1 NC) is fresh off of his five-round battle with new UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks at UFC 171. Lawler was on the edge of winning the fight, but Hendricks turned the tables in the final round to sway the judges unanimously in his favor.