Lashley-Sparks, Zaromskis-Cyborg Buoy June 16 Strikeforce

By Brian Knapp May 16, 2010
Former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Bobby Lashley will collide with the unbeaten Ron Sparks in a featured heavyweight tilt at Strikeforce “Los Angeles” on June 16 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. Strikeforce officials on Saturday announced the matchup, along with a fight pairing Dream welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis with Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos.

Based in Denver and affiliated with American Top Team, Lashley made a successful Strikeforce debut in January, when he buried UFC veteran Wes Sims under first-round punches in Sunrise, Fla. A three-time national wrestling champion in college, the 33-year-old has finished four of his first five opponents, including the hulking Bob Sapp, inside one round.

“I’m excited about fighting again,” Lashley said in a release. “I’ve been working very hard, and I’m continuing to learn. The guy I’m fighting is huge. This will be a great fight.”

The 35-year-old Sparks owns 17-, 24- and 36-second victories on his unblemished resume. Rooted in Louisville, Ky., the 6-foot-5, 265-pound heavyweight has not competed since June, when he earned a unanimous nod against Johnathan Ivey at a Revolution Fight League show in Hammond, Ind. Like Lashley, Sparks has put away four of his first five foes in the first period.

“I like to get in and get the job done,” Sparks said. “My last fight went all four rounds, but there is nothing I enjoy more than knocking a person out.”

A potent striker, Zaromskis has delivered 10 of his 13 career victories by knockout or technical knockout. The 29-year-old Lithuanian burst on the international scene in 2009, when he knocked out Hayato “Mach” Sakurai and Jason High on the same night to win the Dream welterweight grand prix. Spawned by the London Shootfighters camp, Zaromskis succumbed to first-round punches from Nick Diaz in January and has not set foot inside the cage since.

Santos has lost four of his last six fights. The 32-year-old Pride Fighting Championships veteran snapped a two-fight losing streak with a second-round finish against Daniel Zarate five months ago in Brazil. Santos, the husband of Strikeforce women’s middleweight champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, has delivered 15 of his 17 career wins by KO, TKO or submission.

A catchweight bout pitting former EliteXC middleweight king Robbie Lawler against one-time Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral will headline Strikeforce “Los Angeles.”
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