Jake Ellenberger vs. Robbie Lawler booked for UFC 173 on May 24 with Tarec Saffiedine hurt

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

"The Sponge" has once again dried up in training camp, opening the door for a "Ruthless" replacement at a later date.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has a new (and perhaps improved) welterweight slugfest on tap for Memorial Day Weekend, as Jake Ellenberger will leave "Charm City" to throw hands against Robbie Lawler at the upcoming UFC 173 pay-per-view (PPV) event, scheduled for May 24, 2014 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

MMA Junkie confirmed the switcheroo earlier today.

Lawler (22-10) takes over for Tarec Saffiedine, who was injured in training camp (again) and forced to withdraw from UFC 172. "Ruthless" is fresh off a razor-thin unanimous decision loss to Johny Hendricks in the UFC 171 main event earlier this month (video) and could get right back into the 170-pound title hunt with a big win in "Sin City."

But he'll have to fight fire with fire.

Ellenberger (29-7) hasn't been seen since his three-round stinker against Rory MacDonald last July. "The Juggernaut" was expected to get back into action in Singapore to kick off 2014, but like Saffiedine, was felled by an untimely injury shortly before the fight.

Will cage rust be a factor as he shifts from Baltimore to Las Vegas?

UFC 173 will be headlined by a bantamweight title fight featuring Renan Barao taking on TJ Dillashaw (thanks to another bite from the injury bug). Elsewhere on the card, Junior dos Santos looks to stay afloat in the 265-pound waters at the expense of Stipe Miocic.

Check out the current UFC 173 fight card and line up by clicking here.

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