Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato "Babalu" Sobral (35-8 MMA, 1-1 SF) got a new ticket to ride.
In the wake of DREAM's canceled light heavyweight tournament, the submission specialist and one-time UFC contender will face Robbie Lawler in a 195-pound catchweight fight at "Strikeforce: Los Angeles." The news was first reported Thursday afternoon by Sherdog.com and subsequently confirmed by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) via sources close to the event.
Strikeforce: Los Angeles takes place June 16 at the Nokia Theatre and coincides with the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), a popular trade show for the computer and video-game industries.
Lawler was previously expected to headline the summer event against Jason "Mayhem" Miller. But Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAjunkie.com that Miller's participation on the card was unlikely due to a post-event brawl at "Strikeforce: Nashville" that erupted after the "Bully Beatdown" host called out the promotion's middleweight champion, Jake Shields.
The Tennessee Athletic Commission is currently investigating the incident.
Sobral was one of three Strikeforce fighters expected to participate in DREAM's 8-man tournament at DREAM.14 on May 29. But the tournament was recently nixed when the Japanese promotion's television partner, Tokyo Broadcasting System, showed little interest in airing the contest. Sobral's opponent was never announced.
Earlier today, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said the marooned fighters – which include former light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi and Rameau Thierry Sokodjou – could fight for his promotion in June or in non-tournament bouts on the May 29 card.
Mousasi is the only fighter who appears to be put out by the shake up. Sources tell MMAjunkie.com that Sokodjou is likely to fight May 15 in an unnamed MMA tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Sobral, for one, is on the books for a stateside fight, though his representatives could not be reached for confirmation.
The Brazilian-born fighter has not fought since he relinquished his 205-pound belt to Mousasi in a sixty-second knockout loss at "Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg" this past August.
Sobral returned to the gym early this year after focusing on family duties.