With less than two weeks away from the Strikeforce: Miami show, the San Jose-based fight promotion continues to struggle to find an opponent for wrestling superstar Bobby Lashley.
With a record of 4-0, the former WWE United States Champion is set to make his Strikeforce debut on Jan. 30. The promotion’s lack of mid-level heavyweight resources have them waffling around, looking for someone who fits the profile of a “Lashley victim.”
Some might say Strikeforce is looking more and more desperate in their attempts to match Lashley.
The first opponent offered to the wrestling monster was Shane Del Rosario (9-0). What seemed like a good test for Lashley ended up being pulled out from under him for unknown reasons.
“They asked me if I wanted to do it and I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it for sure’”, Del Rosario said in an interview with FiveOuncesofPain.com . “They got back to me and it was a no.”
With not one of his nine wins going to decision, one can speculate that Del Rosario was pulled to prevent a premature knockout or submission loss so early in Lashley’s career.
Strikeforce may be attempting to avoid the Kimbo/EliteXC effect, where a fighter with so much star power and little experience goes into a fight with a great deal riding on their shoulders then gets KO’d in quick fashion.
My feeling is that Stikeforce is not nearly in the financial trouble EliteXC was when they fell, but a devastating loss to one of their marquee names could hurt their new year after an impressive uprising in 2009.
Enter Jimmy Ambriz (14-12). The 32-year old super heavyweight is the next rumored opponent for Lashley, but doesn’t hold quite the same prowess as the previous offering to the wrestler.
Ambriz was last seen winning his fight at Midwest Fighting Championships against Chris Clark via bulldog choke. If you have ever seen this move utilized, it is very similar to what looks like a school yard bully choking an unwilling fourth grader. A useful tool if one wanted to apply a nuggie.
Prior to that, Ambriz lost two in a row to Jeff Monson for two different promotions and one to Sergei Kharitonov at Dream 6.
Despite having enormous trapezius muscles, the Los Angeles-based fighter has not looked very impressive in his MMA career and appears to be offered up as an easy win to Lashley. A win over Ambriz would do nothing for the Lahsley’s career other than soften his record.
Strikeforce is taking their name a little too serious in this affair by “forcing” Lashley to fight a weak opponent for the sole purpose of showcasing the physical strength of a former wrestling champion.
Ultimately losing his UFC debut, Lesnar went on to learn from his experience and find out what the holes in his game were. The same cannot be said for Lashley, as his Strikeforce debut is against an opponent with a record similar to a mid level NBA franchise.
The feeling is that Lashley will learn nothing from this experience and the holes in his arsenal will continue to be a mystery to him.
Looking ahead, what is next for Lashley?
Given the amount of free agent pick ups they have done recently, and assuming Lashley beats Ambriz, Strikeforce would have little options if they plan to keep feeding the wrestler small bits of competition.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva stands as a quality opponent, given his improved striking and upper class ground game. If Lashley can defeat someone the caliber of Silva, then there can be some real discussion about him being a contender in Strikeforce’s heavyweight division.
In the meantime, Lashley will be on vacation in South Beach because no one of true quality will be available to contend with him on Jan. 30.
Enjoy your leisure time in Miami, Mr. Lashley.