The Florida State Boxing Commission officially has approved veteran fighter Jimmy Ambriz as an opponent for Bobby Lashley, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) has confirmed with a commission official.
The Lashley (4-0 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Ambriz (14-12-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) fight has been targeted for the Showtime-televised main card of the Jan. 30 "Strikeforce: Miami" event.
However, the fight currently is not signed, and sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com that Strikeforce officials may be exploring other options for Lashley.
Lashley's bout is the only one not official for the upcoming card, which takes place at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., with title fights of Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis (for the vacant welterweight title) and female champ Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Marloes Coenen. Strikeforce's initial choice for Lashley, Yohan Banks (2-1 MMA, 2-0 SF), did not garner approval from the commission earlier this week.
That opened the door for nine-year vet Ambriz, who's competed around the world for organizations such as WEC, DREAM, K-1, Pancrase, King of the Cage and Rage in the Cage against notables such as Josh Barnett, Sergei Kharitonov, Jeff Monson, Ricco Rodriguez and Chris Tuchscherer, among others.
Although Florida commission officials deemed Lashley vs. Banks "not competitive," they feel Ambriz vs. Lashley would be. Although Ambriz has more experience and a lengthy fight resume, Lashley is a decorated amateur wrestler who's much more athletic than a typical four-fight prospect.
However, despite the event being just two weeks away, bout agreements have not been distributed for the fight. Additionally, one source close to the negotiations said, "I don't think it's going to happen."
It's not known if Strikeforce officials are pursuing an alternative opponent – or if Lashley may be shifted to a future card (with a preliminary-card fight of Jay Hieron vs. Joe Riggs possibly moving to the "Strikeforce: Evolution" main card).
Regardless, a resolution to the situation is expected this week.