LOS ANGELES (May 15, 2010) – Former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley (5-0) will square off with fellow undefeated Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) heavyweight Ron “The Monster” Sparks (5-0) when STRIKEFORCE hits Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE on Wednesday, June 16. DREAM welterweight champion Marius “The Whitemare” Zaromskis (13-4) will face Evangelista Cyborg (17-13) in a featured welterweight (170 pounds) contest.
The 33-year-old Lashley, a 6 foot 3, 265-pound native of Junction City, Kan., was overwhelmingly victorious in his STRIKEFORCE debut last Jan. 30, stopping Wes Sims with an onslaught of punches in the first round (2:06) at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The popular Lashley enjoyed success with both the WWE and rival pro wrestling league, TNA, between 2005-07.
In his outing before last on June 27, 2009, Lashley scored an impressive first-round (3:17) TKO over 6-foot-5 inch, 350-plus-pound goliath Bob “The Beast” Sapp in Biloxi, Miss.
A resident of Denver, Colo., Lashley was a collegiate wrestling star for Missouri Valley College and member of The United States Army.
“I’m excited about fighting again,’’ Lashley said. “I’ve been working very hard and I am continuing to learn. The guy I am fighting is huge. This will be a great fight.’’
The 35-year old, 6-foot-5 Sparks, of Louisville, Ky., is a tough guy with freakish girth and power who brings it each and every time. An equally imposing physical specimen who has been pummeling opponents, Sparks is coming off a unanimous four-round decision over Johnathan Ivey in his last effort on June 3, 2009.
Until then, only one of Sparks’ fights had lasted more than a minute. The total elapsed time in Sparks’ previous triumphs, all of which he won by knockout, was 184 seconds. He won in 1:07, 0:36, 0:24 and 0:17, respectively.
“I like to get in and get the job done,’’ the hard-hitting Sparks said. “My last fight went all four rounds, but there is nothing I enjoy more than knocking a person out.’’
Sparks, who has been seeking a major fight against a “name’’ opponent, is looking forward to June 16.
“Trust me, we’re going to go down swinging,’’ he said. “There will be no tap-outs. I am grateful of the opportunity STRIKEFORCE is giving me and I am very confident of a victory.’’
Zaromskis is one of the deadliest strikers in MMA and an opponent’s worst “Whitemare.’’ Until falling to STRIKEFORCE World Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz on Jan. 30, Zaromskis had won five in a row and nine of 10.
In July 2009, the talented, aggressive-minded 5-foot-9, 29-year-old captured the prestigious DREAM 12 Welterweight Grand Prix in Japan by literally booting the daylights out of his last two tournament foes, winning each fight by spectacular, evil head kick, both in the first round.
Zaromskis has consistently produced highlight-reel performances on the big stage since turning pro in February 2000. A member of London’s Shootfighters fight team, he is looking to manufacture another one against the hard-nosed Santos.
“This is a very important fight for me,’’ Zaromskis said. “I was disappointed in my performance in my last fight but I know I can do better and expect to do better against a very dangerous opponent.’’
Santos, the husband of the No. 1 women’s fighter in the world, STRIKEFORCE 145-pound champion Cris Cyborg, dropped a split decision to Joey Villasenor in his STRIKEFORCE debut on June 19, 2009. That fight was contested at 185 pounds.
The 5-foot-10, 32-year-old Cyborg, a member of the famed Chute Box Academy, rebounded in his last start to score a 1:41, first-round TKO (head kick and punches) over Daniel Zarate on Dec. 1, 2009.
“My last fight for STRIKEFORCE against Villasenor was a hard, close fight that could have gone either way,’’ Cyborg said. “Zaromskis has a great, fantastic reputation and I know what he can do, but I am excited about this fight and putting together a winning streak.’’
Tickets for the STRIKEFORCE event are on sale at the STAPLES Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations (800) 745-3000, Ticketmaster online (www.ticketmaster.com) and STRIKEFORCE’S official website (www.strikeforce.com). Tickets will also be sold at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE box office on days when events take place there.
In the main event on June 16, knockout artist “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler (17-5) will collide with former STRIKEFORCE Light Heavyweight (205 pounds) Champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral (35-8) at a catch weight of 195 pounds.
The first-ever STRIKEFORCE event scheduled for mid-week will take place in the midst of the E3 Expo, the premier trade show for computer and video games. During E3 Expo 2010 at the L.A. Convention Center, EA SPORTS™ will exhibit its highly anticipated title, EA SPORTS MMA, in which STRIKEFORCE is featured as a premier league.
Doors at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE will open for the event at 5:15 p.m. PT. The first non-televised preliminary bout will begin at 6 p.m. and the first main card fight will begin at 8 p.m.
The event will be televised live on SHOWTIME® at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).