Since having his UFC contract terminated after failing to release an anaconda choke on an unconscious David Heath back at UFC 74, Renato “Babalu” Sobral has been the hardest working man in MMA. In late September, Babalu signed with MMA agent Ken Pavia and with the Strikeforce promotion. A week and a half later, the veteran Brazilian signed a multi-fight deal with Hardcore Fighting Championship, and MMAJunkie is reporting that Babalu has recently signed a non-exclusive deal with the Xcess Fighting promotion.
“I am undeniably the biggest ‘Babalu’ fan that lives. Xcess Fighting believes he has tremendous talent, and (we) are extremely proud to be able to get him back into he cage and in front of his fans so quickly,” Xcess Fighting spokesperson Bruce Bellocchi said.
According to Xcess Fighting, Babalu will reportedly make his debut for the promotion as part of a December 12 event. Neither an opponent for Babalu nor a location for the event has been specified, and the details surrounding his contract have not been disclosed at the time of this writing.
In a recent interview, Pavia said that a deal has been signed for Babalu to make his Strikeforce debut in San Jose in late January. “The deal is inked, but we still don’t know about the opponent, “Pavia said. “We were hoping to walk into a title shot, but looks like we’re going to have to get one fight in before we fight for the title.”
But before Babalu is poised to fight for the Strikeforce belt, he certainly needs to emerge victorious (and healthy) from his December Xcess fight. Strikeforce management might find themselves in a tough position to promote Babalu as a legitimate championship contender if he were to lose in a much smaller, lesser-known promotion only weeks before debuting for Strikeforce in the promotion’s hometown of San Jose.
Xcess Fighting will be holding its next event – “Havoc in Hollywood” – on November 7th in Hollywood, CA, at which Babalu is scheduled to make an appearance. Butterbean Esch and Jimmy Ambriz will fight for the WCO superheavyweight title in the evening’s main event, and former UFC champion Mark Kerr is scheduled to fight in the co-main event; Kerr’s opponent has not been specified on the Xcess Fighting site.