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Renato Da Cunha Sobral (Template:IPA-pt; born September 7, 1975)[1], also known as "Babalu", is a Brazilian mixed martial arts fighter, and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. He is noted for his aggressive style, grappling prowess, and high-caliber submissions. Sobral previously fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he posted a 6-4 record. He is a member of the Gracie Barra Cerritos [1] and has a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr. Some of his MMA achievements include defeating fighters Trevor Prangley, Mauricio Rua, and Jeremy Horn in a single night at IFC's Global Domination tournament. Sobral was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Sobral's background is in wrestling. Before joining the Gracie Barra Combat Team he was a Brazilian national wrestling champion and was trained in Ruas Vale Tudo, a martial arts system developed by Marco Ruas.[2]


At UFC 62, Sobral was defeated by Chuck Liddell in a bout for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. The match was stopped as a technical knockout at 95 seconds into the first round. Following his loss to Liddell, Sobral faced Jason Lambert at UFC 68. Sobral was knocked out in the second round.

UFC 74 controversyEdit

Sobral's next fight was at UFC 74 against David Heath. The first round consisted of Sobral ground and pounding Heath. In the second round, he opened a cut on Heath's forehead which bled profusely. Sobral secured another takedown and then worked to an anaconda choke. Heath quickly tapped out, but Sobral continued to hold the anaconda choke, ignoring referee Steve Mazzagatti's commands and resisting his attempts to break the hold. Sobral did not release the choke until Heath passed out from hypoxia.[3] During his post-fight interview, Sobral told UFC color analyst Joe Rogan that he was aware that Heath had tapped, but "he (Heath) has to learn respect. He deserved that. He called me 'motherfucker'."[3] In his dressing room after the fight, Sobral spoke to Las Vegas Journal-Review columnist Ed Graney. Sobral then mocked the crowd for booing him, saying "The crowd didn't like it? Who cares? At least they had a reaction."[3]

On August 30, 2007, Sobral was released from his contractual obligations by the UFC due to his actions at UFC 74.[4] UFC President Dana White called Sobral's actions "completely unacceptable. This is the fight game and shit happens. But no way can you do what he did."[3] White also supported the fans attitude towards Sobral after the fight. "I think you saw the response from the fans. Babalu was a fan favorite. They turned on him immediately."[4] Additionally, the Nevada State Athletic Commission withheld $25,000 of Sobral's $50,000 fight purse and convened a hearing to deal with both his holding the choke and ignoring Mazzagatti's orders.[5]

Strikeforce and Affliction Edit

After the termination of his deal with the UFC, Sobral was courted by numerous promotions looking to sign him.[5] During the September 29 Strikeforce event at the Playboy Mansion it was announced that Sobral had signed a non-exclusive deal with Strikeforce.[6] It has since been revealed that he has signed two more non-exclusive deals with Hardcore Championship Fighting and Xcess Fighting.[7] Sobral also later competed in an event for the Ring of Fire promotion, defeating Rodney Faverus by submission (arm triangle choke).

Sobral was scheduled to fight fellow UFC veteran Vernon "Tiger" White in a match to crown the first WCO Light Heavyweight Champion.[8] However, because the show's promoters were unable to secure adequate funding to pay the fighters, the show was canceled at the last minute by the California State Athletic Commission.[9]

Sobral then signed with Affliction Entertainment's MMA promotion and appeared at Affliction: Banned on July 19, defeating Mike Whitehead by unanimous decision. Sobral's next fight was against Bobby Southworth in San Jose, California on November 21 for the Strikeforce promotion. Babalu defeated Southworth via TKO due to a cut over the right eye in between round one and two, making him the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion.

Sobral next fought his second fight for Affliction, this time against Sokoudjou at Affliction: Day of Reckoning on January 24, 2009 in a light heavyweight fight. The fight ended in the second round when Babalu submitted Sokoudjou with a D'arce/Brabo choke. After his victory he showed an interest in fighting former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Tito Ortiz.

Sobral was set to fight fellow Brazilian Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante at the past event Strikeforce Presents: Lawler Vs. Shields in St. Louis, Missouri on June 6, 2009, but the bout was scratched. The bout would have been for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.

Sobral was next set to make his third appearance for Affliction in a fight against Gegard Mousasi at Affliction: Trilogy,[10] but the event was canceled after losing its main event.[11] The fight was then moved to Strikeforce's August 15 card, Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg and changed into a Light Heavy Weight bout for the Light-Heavyweight Championship with Sobral as the title holder.[12] Sobral lost the title to Mousasi by first round Knockout.


Sobral is expected to make his DREAM debut on May 30, 2010 at DREAM.15.[13] His opponent has yet to be announced.

Personal lifeEdit

Renato and his wife Natasha have two daughters named Maria Fernanda and Sophia, who was born in May 2009. [14][15][16]

His nickname comes from a brand of bubblegum that he used to chew (Bubbaloo).[14]

Sobral was arrested on July 14, 2007 for misdemeanor battery and trespassing at the Seminole Indian Reservation Casino after allegedly spitting on a bouncer outside a club.[14][17]

In October 2008 he opened his own gym, Gracie Barra Cerritos, in Cerritos, California.[14][18]

Appeared in the video for Still I Rise (song) by the American heavy metal band Shadows Fall.[19]

MMA record Edit

Record Date Result Opponent Event Method Round Time Location Notes
35–8 2009-08-15 Loss Armenia flag Gegard Mousasi Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg KO (Punches) 1 1:00 United States flag San Jose, California Lost Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship
35–7 2009-01-24 Win Cameroon flag Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou Affliction: Day of Reckoning Submission (D'arce Choke) 2 2:36 United States flag Anaheim, California, US
34–7 2008-11-21 Win United States flag Bobby Southworth Strikeforce: Destruction TKO (Cut) 1 5:00 United States flag San Jose, California, US Won Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship
33–7 2008-07-19 Win United States flag Mike Whitehead Affliction: Banned Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 United States flag Anaheim, California, US
32–7 2007-12-09 Win Netherlands flag Rodney Glunder Ring of Fire Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) 1 0:27 22px Manila, Philippines
31–7 2007-08-25 Win United States flag David Heath UFC 74: Respect Submission (anaconda choke) 2 3:30 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada, US Sobral was released from the UFC for refusing to release the choke after referee stoppage of the fight.
30–7 2007-03-03 Loss United States flag Jason Lambert UFC 68: The Uprising KO (Punch) 2 3:26 United States flag Columbus, Ohio, US
30–6 2006-08-26 Loss United States flag Chuck Liddell UFC 62: Liddell vs Sobral TKO (Punches) 1 1:35 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada, US For UFC Light Heavyweight Championship
30–5 2006-02-04 Win United States flag Mike Van Arsdale UFC 57: Liddell vs Couture 3 Submission (Rear Naked Choke) 1 2:21 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada, US
29–5 2005-10-07 Win United States flag Chael Sonnen UFC 55: Fury Submission (Triangle Choke) 2 1:20 United States flag Uncasville, Connecticut, US
28–5 2005-04-16 Win United States flag Travis Wiuff UFC 52: Couture vs Liddell 2 Submission (Armbar) 2 0:24 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada, US
27–5 2005-02-26 Win France flag Pierre Guillet Cage Rage 10-Deliverance Submission (Strikes) 1 1:57 United Kingdom flag London, England, UK
26–5 2004-11-27 Win France flag Cyrille Diabate Cage Rage 9-No Mercy Submission (Triangle Choke) 1 3:38 United Kingdom flag London, England, UK
25–5 2004-10-23 Win Brazil flag Jose Landi-Jons JF 3-Jungle Fight 3 Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 Brazil flag Manaus, Brazil
24–5 2003-09-06 Win United States flag Jeremy Horn IFC-Global Domination Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 United States flag Denver, Colorado, US IFC Light Heavyweight Tournament Final
23–5 2003-09-06 Win Brazil flag Mauricio Rua IFC-Global DominationSubmission (Guillotine Choke) 3 3:07 United States flag Denver, Colorado, US IFC Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal
22–5 2003-09-06 Win South Africa flag Trevor Prangley IFC-Global Domination Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 United States flag Denver, Colorado, US IFC Light Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal
21–5 2003-07-31 Win Brazil flag Marcelo Azevedo Heat FC 1-Genesis Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 Brazil flag Natal, Brazil
20–5 2002-11-22 Loss United States flag Chuck Liddell UFC 40: Vendetta KO (Head Kick) 1 2:55 United States flag Las Vegas, Nevada, US
20–4 2002-07-13 Win Australia flag Elvis Sinosic UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 United Kingdom flag London, England, UK
19–4 2002-01-11 Loss United States flag Kevin Randleman UFC 35: Throwdown Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00 United States flag Uncasville, Connecticut, US
19–3 2001-08-11 Loss Russia flag Fedor Emelianenko Rings-10th Anniversary Decision (Unanimous) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
19–2 2001-06-15 Win Japan flag Tsuyoshi Kohsaka Rings-World Title Series 2 Decision (Majority) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
18–2 2001-02-24 Win Japan flag Kiyoshi Tamura Rings-King of Kings 2000 Final Decision (Majority) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
17–2 2000-11-17 Win United States flag Maurice Smith UFC 28: High Stakes Decision 3 5:00 United States flag Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
16–2 2000-10-09 Loss Netherlands flag Valentijn Overeem Rings-King of Kings 2000 Block A Submission (Toe Hold) 1 2:19 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
16–1 2000-10-09 Win Georgia flag Tariel Bitsadze Rings-King of Kings 2000 Block A Submission (Armbar) 1 2:58 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
15–1 2000-06-15 Win Japan flag Hiromitsu Kanehara Rings-Millennium Combine 2 Decision (Unanimous) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
14–1 2000-05-20 Win Russia flag Jacob Zobnin Rings Russia-Rings Russia Submission (Rear Naked Choke) 1 3:20 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
13–1 2000-04-20 Win United States flag Travis Fulton Rings-Millennium Combine 1 Submission (Armbar) 1 4:49 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
12–1 2000-02-26 Loss United States flag Dan Henderson Rings-King of Kings 1999 Final Decision (Majority) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
12–0 2000-02-26 Win Japan flag Kiyoshi Tamura Rings-King of Kings 1999 Final Decision (Majority) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
11–0 2000-02-26 Win Russia flag Mikhail Illoukhine Rings-King of Kings 1999 Final Submission (Armbar) 3 0:40 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
10–0 2000-01-15 Win United States flag Brad Kohler World Extreme Fighting – 8-Goin' Platinum KO (Soccer Kick to the head) 2 0:50 United States flag Rome, Georgia
9–0 1999-10-28 Win United Kingdom flag Lee Hasdell Rings-King of Kings 1999 Block A Decision (Unanimous) 2 5:00 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
8–0 1999-10-28 Win Georgia flag Zaza Tkeshelashvili Rings-King of Kings 1999 Block A Submission (kimura) 2 1:11 Japan flag Tokyo, Japan
7–0 1999-07-24 Win Brazil flag Dario Amorim BVF 14-Circuito Brasileiro de Vale Tudo 5 Submission (Punches) 1 2:14 Brazil flag Brazil
6–0 1999-07-24 Win Brazil flag Pedro Otavio BVF 14-Circuito Brasileiro de Vale Tudo 5 Submission (Punches) 1 4:34 Brazil flag Brazil
5–0 1999-07-24Win Brazil flag Augusto Menezes Santos BVF 14-Circuito Brasileiro de Vale Tudo 5 Submission (Keylock) 1 0:56 Brazil flag Brazil
4–0 1999-01-20 Win Brazil flag Fernando Cerchiari IVC 8-The Road Back to the Top KO (Punches) 1 4:41 Brazil flag Aracaju, Brazil
3–0 1997-09-27 Win Brazil flag Marco Vinicios Desafio – Rio vs. São Paulo TKO (Retirement) 2 4:58 Brazil flag Brazil
2–0 1997-09-27 Win Brazil flag Manoel Vicente Desafio – Rio vs. São Paulo TKO (Punches and Stomp) 1 6:27 Brazil flag Brazil
1–0 1997-09-27 Win Brazil flag Claudio Palma Desafio – Rio vs. São Paulo Submission (Leg Kicks) 1 2:08 Brazil flag Brazil

See alsoEdit


  2. Wrobel, Pedro (November 23, 2004). Renato "Babalu" Sobral Interview. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Iole, Kevin (August 28, 2007). There should be no room for Babalu's antics. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gross, Josh (August 30, 2007). Babaloose: UFC Cuts Controversial Fighter. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gross, Josh (September 24, 2007). NSAC Fines 'Babalu' 25K. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  6. Carpinello, Dave (September 30, 2007). Josh Thomson: After the Mansion. Punch Drunk Gamer. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  7. Perkins, Jason (November 1, 2007). Renato “Babalu” Sobral Signs With Xcess Fighting. MMA Fightline. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  8. WCO Hits San Diego. (December 27, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  9. Gross, Josh (January 12, 2008). Breaking News: Saturday's WCO Event Cancelled. Retrieved on 2008-01-12.
  10. Sobral expected to face Mousasi at Affliction: Trilogy. M-1 Global (June 1, 2009). Retrieved on June 1, 2009.
  11. Affliction Releases Official Statement on Cancellation. The Fight Network (2009-07-24). Retrieved on 2009-07-24.
  12. Smith, Michael David (2009-07-27). Strikeforce Adds Gegard Mousasi vs. Renato 'Babalu' Sobral Title Fight. MMA Fanhouse. Retrieved on 2009-07-27.
  13. Renato "Babalu" Sobral signs with DREAM for May light heavyweight tournament. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved on 2010-03-18.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Outside the Octagon., by Loretta Hunt (2008-11-21). Retrieved on 2008-11-21.
  15. FOCUSED ON SOKOUDJOU, BABALU BREAKING FOR BABY. (2009-01-23). Archived from the original on 2009-01-30. Retrieved on 2009-01-25.
  16. Following Birth of Daughter, 'Babalu' Refocuses on Busy Fight Schedule. (2009-06-06). Retrieved on 2009-08-24.
  17. MMA WEEKLY - Your #1 Source for Daily MMA News, Interviews, Multimedia, and More: - BABALU ARRESTED
  18. Gracie Barra Cerritos.
  19. Still I Rise. Retrieved on October 23, 2009.

External linksEdit

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