“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler has long been known as one of the most powerful strikers in mixed martial arts.
 
Unfortunately for Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger, he felt that power a bit too much Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 173 from the MGM Grand Arena.
 
Lawler, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top-ranked welterweight, stopped fifth-ranked Ellenberger via strikes at the 3:06 mark of the third round.
 
“He’s a really good fighter,” said Lawler in the octagon after the fight. “I wanted to just go out there and showcase what I was capable of and let everyone know I’m coming for that title.”
 
Lawler (23-10) has now won four of his last five in the UFC as he was coming off a close decision loss to Johny Hendricks for the UFC welterweight title.
 
Ellenberger (29-8), who began training at the Glendale Fighting Club this year and was cornered Saturday by GFC’s Edmond Tarverdyan, dropped his second straight bout.
 
The end came when Lawler, who now has 19 wins by knockout, connected with a stifling right jab to Ellenberger’s left eye.
 
Ellenberger grimaced and backed off and Lawler came forward, landing a left knee and a follow-up left hand that dropped Ellenberger. With Ellenberger covering up, Lawler let loose a barrage of left hands and then rights before the bout was stopped.
 
Lawler had won the first two rounds on all three judges’ cards, as Ellenberger’s speed advantage and some second-round takedowns weren’t enough to offset the aggression, accuracy and power of Lawler’s striking, which came with left kicks early on and a steady stream of power shots from both hands.
 
In the first round, there was an early feeling-out process before Lawler let go on some left head kicks that moved Ellenberger, though they were blocked. Lawler let go again with a kick to the body, then another to the head.
 
Lawler began trying combinations with Ellenberger answering with nothing of significance, seemingly content to take on a defensive role. Ellenberger finally began to put together combos, but nothing landed well, with Lawler continuing to dictate the fight with his power and Ellenberger’s output remaining low.
 
With just under a minute to go in the stanza, Lawler landed a big counter right hook that Ellenberger wore well, but Lawler’s power was evident.
 
A straight right to the body and a good counter left with less than 20 seconds left proved to be Ellenberger’s best shots, but Lawler easily took the round.
 
Ellenberger came out more aggressive in the second stanza, but Lawler was still stalking him. The two came together and exchanged well early on with Ellenberger having a takedown attempt shrugged off.
 
With just more than 3:30 to go, Ellenberger initiated a clinch and was at Lawler’s back, but Ellenberger was again shrugged off.
 
Lawler began doing damage with straight lefts, as Ellenberger clearly had the speed advantage, but it wasn’t doing enough to fend off Lawler’s accuracy. Ellenberger was able to get a takedown, but Lawler quickly worked to his feet and landed a big knee to the midsection of Ellenberger.
 
Lawler then sprawled and began landing hard shots before spinning to Ellenberger’s back. Ellenberger spun back around, but Lawler maintained control and, as the two separated, Ellenberger’s nose was bloodied.
 
Ellenberger launched forward for a double-leg takedown, but Lawler worked back up quickly again. The round concluded with Lawler pressing Ellenberger against the cage and clearly up two rounds to none.
 
“Now you gotta exchange, you gotta let go with both hands to win this fight,” Tarverdyan was heard telling Ellenberger between rounds on the pay-per-view broadcast.
 
Lawler, who did show some swelling under his left eye, found himself in a slugfest early in the third, as the two began throwing leather and Ellenberger looked to have stunned Lawler.
 
But after another Ellenberger takedown was defended, Lawler seemed to dictate the tempo again with Ellenberger’s output waning from the early stages of the round. Ellenberger seemed to be favoring his right hand, likely due to injury, and was on the receiving end of some stiff lefts from Lawler and finally a big right jab that hurt Ellenberger’s eye.
 
The shot proved to be the beginning of the end.
 
Ellenberger clutched at his eye and moved back and Lawler plodded in. He faked another right jab and caught a ducking Ellenberger with a left knee and a left uppercut.
 
Ellenberger dropped to the canvas and Lawler swarmed, first with lefts to the side of the head and then a barrage of rights before referee Herb Dean stepped in.
 
“I wanted to get in there and really push him to get the stoppage,” Lawler told the UFC backstage. “I hit him with that one two and followed it up when he went down.”

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Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.