Robbie Lawler knocks out Jake Ellenberger

LAS VEGAS — The welterweight division is back on notice, Ruthless style.

One fight after a heartbreaking decision loss in a welterweight title bout against Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler is back in the win column with gusto, knocking out Jake Ellenberger in the third-round of their UFC 173 fight.

The southpaw brought the finish with a barrage, hurting Ellenberger with a straight left and following with a knee and ground strikes in forcing the finish.

"He’s a really good fighter," Lawler said. "I wanted to showcase what I’m capable of and let everyone know I’m coming for that title."

Mission accomplished. 

Still ranked as the top contender in the division, Lawler out-landed Ellenberger by an 86-34 count overall en route to the win.

The first round was a feeling-out process, but Lawler made his speed advantage known several times with quick combos while Ellenberger was usually only able to get off single strikes. 

The striking gap began to widen in the second as Lawler worked to cut off the cage and make it a phone booth fight. 

Ellenberger landed his most significant strike in the third with a right hand but Lawler quickly turned the temp with a knee from the Thai plum, and got the finish shortly thereafter.

Lawler (23-10, 1 no contest) will now wait to see if he gets a return engagement against Hendricks, or is asked to fight another contender. 

Ellenberger lost for the second straight time, falling to 29-8.