Bobby Lashley has another replacement for Shark Fights 21. | Photo: Keith Mills


Bobby Lashley has a new opponent for his headliner at Friday’s Shark Fights 21.

Mark Martinez, who was Monday confirmed for the bout by the promotion, will be unable to compete due to expired blood work, a source close to the situation has informed Sherdog.com. Instead, Lashley will vie for the Texas-based organization’s vacant heavyweight title against 8-year pro Karl Knothe.

Knothe, who was preparing for another fight in Minnesota this weekend when he received the call, is the latest in a string of Lashley opponents for the Nov. 11 card, a list which has included Martinez Darrill Schoonover and Dave Huckaba.

“Karl’s been wanting to fight Bobby Lashley for a while,” Gavin Rydell, Knothe’s manager, stated. “He’s had some offers before to fight Bobby, but it always fell apart. Karl is excited that not only does he get to fight Bobby Lashley, but it’s also for the Shark Fights heavyweight title.”

Emanating from Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas, Shark Fights 21 will air via tape delay on Fuel TV on Dec. 23.

Once-beaten as a professional, Lashley is a two-time Strikeforce veteran. The hulking “Dominator” began his career a perfect 5-0 before running into the resilient Chad Griggs in August 2010. Lashley rebounded from the defeat with a win in March, pounding on an undersized John Ott en route to a unanimous decision victory at Titan Fighting Championship 17.

Nicknamed “The Original Son of Punishment,” Knothe has not lost since 2007, racking up 12 consecutive victories on the Midwestern circuit. The Gorilla Combat representative fought three times last year but has yet to compete in 2011. Knothe most recently competed this past December, earning a technical knockout over Victor Valimaki.

This item was updated Nov. 8 at 6:14 p.m. ET to include additional information regarding Martinez’s withdrawal.

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