Renato “Babalu” Sobral gets ready to defend his Strikeforce light heavyweight championship for the first time since winning it last November from Bobby Southworth. Sobral was originally scheduled to face Gegard Mousasi at Affliction: Trilogy earlier this month, however the event was cancelled, and the promotion subsequently folded. Despite the promotion folding, Sobral enjoyed his time with Affliction.
“Fighting with Affliction was a privilege while it lasted,” Sobral exclusively told FightLine.com.
Sobral noted that he found out about the cancellation of the Affliction card from his manager as soon as he found out. As for the events that led to the cancellation of the event, Babalu stated that he’s not thinking about it.
“My thoughts are solely on August 15th,” he explained. “I have put the past behind me.”
While the Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg card has been plagued with injuries and other complications, the changes benefitted Sobral. After Alistair Overeem was unable to defend the Strikeforce heavyweight championship against Fabricio Werdum, the Babalu – Mousasi bout was added to the card, this time with the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship at stake. Babalu noted that Mousasi presents a strong challenge for him.
“He’s a well rounded fighter who, like the rest of us, still has a lot to learn,” he said of his opponent. “On August 15th, I will teach him.”
Sobral was released from the UFC two years ago after he failed to release a choke on David Heath at UFC 74, after Heath had tapped out. Sobral stated in the post-fight interview that he held onto the choke because “”he (Heath) has to learn respect. He deserved that. He called me ‘motherf**ker’.” At UFC 100 last month, Dan Henderson stated that he delivered a post-knockout punch to Michael Bisping to “shut him up” (he later rescinded his comment, stating that he was “kidding”), however Henderson didn’t receive any disciplinary action. When asked if he felt it was hypocritical the way he was treated as opposed to Henderson, Sobral simply answered, “Yes, but who cares?”
As for returning to the UFC one day, Sobral replied, “No, no desire.”
Sobral noted that Fedor Emelianeno, who was signed by Strikeforce last week, was the toughest opponent that he ever faced. Babalu lost a unanimous decision to Fedor eight years ago. When asked if he could face any fighter that he’s fought before, he matter-of-factly stated that it would be “Fedor.”
As for this Saturday’s fight with Mousasi, Sobral noted that, “Training has been great!”
“[We have a] strong camp, injury free,” Sobral continued. “It couldn’t be better.”
As for how he sees the fight going, Sobral stated that he doesn’t “talk about game plans.”
“[But] I will win convincingly.”