Champ Southworth out, Ruiz in for Sept. 20 Strikeforce fight with "Babalu"
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Aug 26, 2008 at 6:05 am ET
With Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth (9-5) out with an injury, Renato "Babalu" Sobral (30-7) will instead meet Anthony Ruiz (21-11) at the Sept. 20 "Strikeforce at the Mansion II" event.
Ruiz's sponsorship team at K.O. Sports Dynasty Management alerted MMAjunkie.com
(UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) of the fight on Monday, though Strikeforce has not officially announced it or the nature of Southworth's injury.
The upcoming event takes place at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Sobral was considered a heavy favorite heading into his fight with Southworth, who's the only fighter to hold Strikeforce's 205-pound belt.
Sobral, a former UFC fighter who signed with Strikeforce following a victory over David Heath at UFC 74, is currently riding a three-fight win streak, which included a unanimous-decision victory over Mike Whitehead at Affliction's debut event in July.
At one time Sobral was expected to meet Tito Ortiz at Affliction's upcoming October event. However, with Ortiz still unsigned, the event is expected to go on without him -- or Sobral.
Ruiz, who most recently scored a unanimous-decision victory over Jeremy Freitag at EliteXC's July 26 event, will fight for Strikeforce for the first time since a loss to light-heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth. Ruiz won their first meeting -- a non-title bout -- via second-round TKO (due to a cut) in 2007, but Southworth cruised to a decision victory in the second meeting back in June.
It remains Ruiz's only loss in his past eight fights; he's also won 12 of his past 15 fights.
Earlier this month Ruiz agreed to fight at the upcoming Playboy Mansion event, though Strikeforce officials hadn't chosen an opponent.
For the latest Strikeforce at the Mansion II
fight card, check out the MMA Rumors
section of MMAjunkie.com. (Pictured: Renato "Babalu" Sobral)