Renato da Cunha Sobral (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁeˈnatu soˈbɾaw]; born 7 September 1975), also known as "Babalu", is a retired Brazilian wrestler and mixed martial artist, and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. Sobral previously fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he posted a 6–4 record and has also competed for Bellator, RINGS, Jungle Fight, Cage Rage, Affliction, and ONE FC. He is the Head Instructor of Babalu's Iron Gym Cerritos and has a Luta Livre black belt. He is also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr. In his prime he was considered one of the top fighters in the world and defeated the likes of former Welterweight UFC Champion Robbie Lawler, former Light Heavyweight UFC Champion Shogun Rua, former Heavyweight UFC Champion Maurice Smith, along with former title contenders Chael Sonnen, Elvis Sinosic, and Jeremy Horn.
Sobral at the weigh-in before the Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg event in 2009
|Born||Renato Sobral da Cunha|
7 September 1975
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
|Residence||Garden Grove, California, United States|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight||202 lb (92 kg; 14 st 6 lb)|
|Reach||76 in (193 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Garden Grove, California, United States|
|Team||Gracie Barra Cerritos|
Babalu's Iron Gym
|Rank||Black belt in Luta Livre |
3rd Degree Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Black prajied in Muay Thai 
Master of sport in Wrestling
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
- 1 Background
- 2 Mixed martial arts career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 Mixed martial arts record
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Sobral is originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and began competing in wrestling from a young age of nine. Sobral later went on to be a South American Wrestling Champion in 1998, a three-time Brazilian National Wrestling Champion in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and was a Brazilian National Muay Thai Champion in 1992. Sobral joined the Gracie Barra Combat Team and trained in Ruas Vale Tudo, a martial arts system developed by Marco Ruas.
Mixed martial arts careerEdit
Sobral made his professional mixed martial arts debut on 27 September 1997 in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. He won all three of his fights on the same night by strikes and then had a one-fight stint in International Vale Tudo before fighting in Brazilian Vale Tudo on 24 July 1999. Sobral again won all three of his fights that night and then made his debut in the Japanese RINGS organization.
Still undefeated, he participated in the King of Kings 1999 Final, winning his first two fights of the day before being handed his first career loss by Dan Henderson. Sobral lost the fight via minority decision, two judges scored the bout a draw while a third judge scored the bout in Henderson's favor.
After a one-fight stint in the UFC, he fought in RINGS three more times. He defeated Kiyoshi Tamura via majority decision, followed this up with another majority decision win over Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. Sobral then faced Fedor Emilianenko at the 10th Anniversary show and lost via unanimous decision.
Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipEdit
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 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. During his post-fight interview, Sobral told UFC commentator Joe Rogan that he was aware that Heath had tapped, but "he (Heath) has to learn respect. He deserved that. He called me motherfucker." 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."
On 30 August 2007, Sobral was released from his contractual obligations by the UFC due to his actions at UFC 74, with UFC President Dana White calling Sobral's actions "completely unacceptable. This is the fight game and shit happens. But no way can you do what he did." 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." 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.
Strikeforce and AfflictionEdit
After the termination of his deal with the UFC, Renato Sobral was courted by numerous promotions looking to sign him. During the 29 September Strikeforce event at the Playboy Mansion it was announced that Sobral had signed a non-exclusive deal with Strikeforce. It has since been revealed that he signed two more non-exclusive deals with Hardcore Championship Fighting and Xcess Fighting. Sobral also later competed in an event for the Ring of Fire promotion, defeating K-1 veteran 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. 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.
Sobral then signed with Affliction Entertainment's MMA promotion and appeared at Affliction: Banned on 19 July, defeating Mike Whitehead by unanimous decision. Sobral's next fight was against Bobby Southworth in San Jose, California on 21 November 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 24 January 2009 in a light heavyweight fight. The fight ended in the second round when Babalu submitted Sokoudjou with a D'arce 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 6 June 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, but the event was canceled after losing its main event. The fight was then moved to Strikeforce's 15 August card, Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg and changed into a bout for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship with Sobral as the titleholder. Sobral lost the title to Mousasi via knockout in the first round.
After defeating Robbie Lawler it was believed that Sobral would face Muhammed Lawal for the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title. However, in his post-fight interview Sobral stated that he would not fight Lawal and instead requested a rematch with Dan Henderson who he fought over ten years ago.
In late December 2011, After one year of inactivity Sobral signed an exclusive deal with Singaporean MMA promotion ONE Championship also known as ONE FC, ONE FC officials stated that Sobral has "global exclusivity" with the promotion. Sobral was slated to fight Melvin Manhoef on 31 March 2012 at ONE Fighting Championship 3 which was to be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore but the two sides were unable to agree on a weight and he instead became the wrestling coach in Wanderlei Silva's team on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
Sobral returned to action in the main event of ONE FC 4 on 23 June. He defeated Tatsuya Mizuno at ONE FC: Destiny of Warriors in Kuala Lumpur, via an armbar submission in the first round. The stoppage came less than a minute into the first round.
Bellator Fighting ChampionshipsEdit
Despite the loss, Sobral competed in Bellator's Light Heavyweight summer series tournament on Spike. He faced Jacob Noe in the opening round of a 4-man tournament at Bellator 96 on 19 June 2013. Sobral lost when the referee stopped the fight for a standing TKO. After the fight, Sobral announced his retirement from MMA.
Dean Lister and Renato Sobral fought to a draw at Metamoris 3 a submission only jiu-jitsu match.
Chael Sonnen and Renato Sobral fought to a draw at Metamoris 6 a submission only jiu-jitsu match.
In 2010, his gym changed to Babalu's Iron Gym, in Cerritos, California.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
Mixed martial artsEdit
- Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship (One time)
- Fighting Network RINGS
- International Fighting Championships
- International Fighting Championships Light Heavyweight Tournament Winner
- International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles
- 2001 Pan American Championships Senior Freestyle (6th Place)
- Confederação Brasileira de Lutas Associadas
- Brazil Senior Freestyle National Championship (1998)
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|49 matches||37 wins||12 losses|
|Loss||37–12||Jacob Noe||TKO (punches)||Bellator 96||19 June 2013||3||3:32||Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States||Bellator 2013 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal.|
|Loss||37–11||Mikhail Zayats||TKO (punches)||Bellator 85||17 January 2013||1||4:49||Irvine, California, United States||Bellator Season Eight Light Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinal|
|Win||37–10||Tatsuya Mizuno||Submission (armbar)||ONE Fighting Championship: Destiny of Warriors||24 June 2012||1||0:31||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|Loss||36–10||Dan Henderson||KO (punches)||Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II||4 December 2010||1||1:53||Missouri, United States||Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title eliminator.|
|Win||36–9||Robbie Lawler||Decision (unanimous)||Strikeforce: Los Angeles||16 June 2010||3||5:00||California, United States||195 lb Catchweight bout|
|Loss||35–9||Gegard Mousasi||KO (punches)||Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg||15 August 2009||1||1:00||California, United States||Lost the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||35–8||Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou||Submission (D'Arce choke)||Affliction: Day of Reckoning||24 January 2009||2||2:36||California, United States|
|Win||34–8||Bobby Southworth||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Strikeforce: Destruction||21 November 2008||1||5:00||California, United States||Won the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||33–8||Mike Whitehead||Decision (unanimous)||Affliction: Banned||19 July 2008||3||5:00||California, United States|
|Win||32–8||Rodney Glunder||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Ring of Fire 30: Babalu vs. Glunder||9 December 2007||3||3:31||Colorado, United States|
|Win||31–8||David Heath||Technical Submission (anaconda choke)||UFC 74||25 August 2007||2||3:30||Nevada, United States||Cut from the UFC post-fight after holding on to the submission too long.|
|Loss||30–8||Jason Lambert||KO (punch)||UFC 68||3 March 2007||2||3:26||Ohio, United States||Fight of the Night.|
|Loss||30–7||Chuck Liddell||TKO (punches)||UFC 62: Liddell vs. Sobral||26 August 2006||1||1:35||Nevada, United States||For the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.|
|Win||30–6||Mike van Arsdale||Submission (rear-naked choke)||UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture 3||4 February 2006||1||2:21||Nevada, United States|
|Win||29–6||Chael Sonnen||Submission (triangle choke)||UFC 55: Fury||7 October 2005||2||1:20||Connecticut, United States|
|Win||28–6||Travis Wiuff||Submission (armbar)||UFC 52: Couture vs Liddell||16 April 2005||2||0:24||Nevada, United States|
|Win||27–6||Pierre Guillet||TKO (submission to punches)||Cage Rage 10||26 February 2005||1||1:57||London, United Kingdom|
|Win||26–6||Cyrille Diabaté||Submission (guillotine choke)||Cage Rage 9||27 November 2004||1||3:38||London, United Kingdom|
|Win||25–6||José Landi-Jons||Decision (unanimous)||Jungle Fight 3||23 October 2004||3||5:00||Manaus, Brazil|
|Win||24–6||Jeremy Horn||Decision (unanimous)||IFC: Global Domination||6 September 2003||3||5:00||Colorado, United States|
|Win||23–6||Maurício Rua||Submission (guillotine choke)||IFC: Global Domination||6 September 2003||3||3:07||Colorado, United States|
|Win||22–6||Trevor Prangley||Decision (unanimous)||IFC: Global Domination||6 September 2003||3||5:00||Colorado, United States|
|Win||21–6||Marcelo Azevedo||Decision (unanimous)||Heat FC 1: Genesis||31 July 2003||3||5:00||Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil|
|Loss||20–6||Chael Sonnen||Decision||Hitman Fighting 3||2 May 2003||N/A||N/A||Santa Ana, California, United States|
|Loss||20–5||Chuck Liddell||KO (head kick)||UFC 40||22 November 2002||1||2:55||Nevada, United States|
|Win||20–4||Elvis Sinosic||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 38||13 July 2002||3||5:00||London, United Kingdom|
|Loss||19–4||Kevin Randleman||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 35||11 January 2002||3||5:00||Connecticut, United States|
|Loss||19–3||Fedor Emelianenko||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: 10th Anniversary||11 August 2001||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||19–2||Tsuyoshi Kohsaka||Decision (majority)||Rings: World Title Series 2||15 June 2001||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||18–2||Kiyoshi Tamura||Decision (majority)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Final||24 February 2001||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||17–2||Maurice Smith||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 28||17 November 2000||3||5:00||New Jersey, United States||Heavyweight Bout|
|Loss||16–2||Valentijn Overeem||Submission (toe hold)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block A||9 October 2000||1||2:19||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||16–1||Tariel Bitsadze||Submission (armbar)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block A||9 October 2000||1||2:58||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||15–1||Hiromitsu Kanehara||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: Millennium Combine 2||15 June 2000||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||14–1||Jacob Zobnin||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Rings Russia: Russia vs. The World||20 May 2000||1||3:20||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||13–1||Travis Fulton||Submission (armbar)||Rings: Millennium Combine 1||20 April 2000||1||4:49||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||12–1||Dan Henderson||Decision (majority)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final||26 February 2000||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||12–0||Kiyoshi Tamura||Decision (majority)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final||26 February 2000||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||11–0||Mikhail Ilyukhin||Submission (armbar)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Final||26 February 2000||3||0:40||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||10–0||Brad Kohler||KO (soccer kick)||WEF: Goin' Platinum||15 January 2000||2||0:50||Georgia, United States|
|Win||9–0||Lee Hasdell||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block A||28 October 1999||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||8–0||Zaza Tkeshelashvili||Submission (kimura)||Rings: King of Kings 1999 Block A||28 October 1999||2||1:11||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||7–0||Dario Amorim||TKO (submission to punches)||BVF 14: Circuito Brasileiro de Vale Tudo 5||24 July 1999||1||2:14||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Win||6–0||Pedro Otavio||TKO (submission to punches)||BVF 14: Circuito Brasileiro de Vale Tudo 5||24 July 1999||1||4:34||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Win||5–0||Augusto Menezes Santos||Submission (americana)||BVF 14: Circuito Brasileiro de Vale Tudo 5||24 July 1999||1||0:56||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Win||4–0||Fernando Cerchiari||KO (punches)||IVC 8: The Road Back to the Top||20 January 1999||1||4:41||Aracaju, Brazil|
|Win||3–0||Marco Vinicios||TKO (retirement)||Desafio: Rio vs. São Paulo||27 September 1997||2||4:58||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Win||2–0||Manoel Vicente||TKO (punches and stomp)||Desafio: Rio vs. São Paulo||27 September 1997||1||6:27||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Win||1–0||Claudio Palma||TKO (submission to leg kicks)||Desafio: Rio vs. São Paulo||27 September 1997||1||2:08||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
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