Height: 6'0" (183cm)
Weight: 193 lbs
Renato "Babalu" Da Cunha Sobral (born September 7, 1975 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is a mixed martial arts fighter from Brazil who is noted for his aggressive style, grappling prowess, and high-caliber submissions. He is the current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. Sobral previously fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he posted a 6-4 record.
He is a member of the Gracie Barra Combat Team 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.
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.
Sobral's next fight was at UFC 74 against David Heath. The first round consisted of Sobral ground and pounding Heath, opening a cut which bled profusely. In the second round, Sobral secured another takedown and then worked to an anaconda choke. Heath quickly tapped out, but Sobral continued to hold the 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 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 mother fucker."
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 August 30, 2007, Sobral was released from his contractual obligations by the UFC due to his actions at UFC 74. 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." 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.
After the termination of his deal with the UFC, Sobral was courted by numerous promotions looking to sign him. During the September 29 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 has 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 Rodney Faverus by submission (arm triangle choke).
Sobral was scheduled to fight fellow UFC veteran Vernon White "Tiger" 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 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 the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion.
Sobral next fought his second fight for Affliction, this time against Rameau Thierry 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 fighter former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Tito Ortiz.