Southworth vs. “Babalu” Greenlit For Nov. 21stRiggs battles Stewart, tickets for Strikeforce “Destruction” on sale
SAN JOSE, Calif. —Only two months after injuries to both fighters postponed
their scheduled showdown, a healthy Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight (205
lb. limit) Champion, Bobby Southworth (9-5), will make his highly
anticipated title defense against surgically repaired superstar, Renato “Babalu”
Sobral (30-7), in the main event of Strikeforce “Destruction” at San Jose’s HP
Pavilion on Friday, November 21st.
Joe “Diesel” Riggs (28-11) will make his return to the welterweight (170
lb. limit) division in a featured contest with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt,
Luke Stewart (6-1). Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion,
Josh “The Punk” Thomson (16-2), will set out to defend his crown for the first
time and notch his ninth consecutive victory against an opponent to be
Tickets for Strikeforce “Destruction,” priced from $30, go on sale Monday
at 10 AM PST and can be purchased at the HP Pavilion box office (408-287-7070)
as well as at all Ticketmaster locations (408-998-TIXS), Ticketmaster online
(_www.ticketmaster.com_ (http://www.ticketmaster.com/) ), and on Strikeforce’
s official website (_www.strikeforce.com_ (http://www.strikeforce.com/) ).
“It’s my title and I plan on defending it,” said Southworth, who had
originally been slated to put his belt on the line against Sobral in the main event
of Strikeforce’s second affair at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on
September 20th. Stabilization problems stemming from a past knee injury,
however, sidelined Southworth. “The stabilization in my knee is back and so is my
Southworth successfully retained his title at HP Pavilion on June 27th by
neutralizing the wrestling skills of Anthony “A Train” Ruiz for five rounds
before walking away with a unanimous judges’ decision.
A veteran of the first season of Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter” reality
series, the 38-year-old Southworth is recognized as a founding member of Team
AKA, the fearsome San Jose-based fight squad that boasts the likes of
Thomson; Strikeforce World Middleweight (185 lb. limit) Champion, Cung Le; Josh
Koscheck; Mike “Quick” Swick; and Cain Velasquez.
“Babalu’s a tough fighter. He matches up well with anybody because he’s
strong in every area,” said Southworth. “I’m the same. I feel I have good
wrestling, good standup, and good Jiu-Jitsu skills. This is a step up in
competition, but my camp is working hard to prepare me and we’re coming to win.”
The 33 year-old Sobral, a former UFC light heavyweight championship
challenger, underwent surgery on August 28th to mend a torn meniscus that he had
sustained in his knee while preparing for the first scheduled meeting with
Southworth. Four weeks of physical therapy followed the medical procedure.
“I’m definitely going to be looking for the knockout,” said an encouraged
Babalu from Los Angeles, California, where he relocated from his native Brazil
a year and a half ago to focus on his training needs. “I’m one month away
and I’m 218 lbs. right now. I’m feeling great. I will be strong enough to
win this fight.”
Since the move, Sobral, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, has dedicated a
great amount of time to improving his western boxing skills under the tutelage
of former world heavyweight championship challenger and conditioning guru,
“I’ve been working very hard on my boxing so I’m going to try to keep this
fighting standing,” said Sobral, who is also working with the likes of
heavyweight superstar, Josh Barnett.
Sobral’s last effort saw him score a unanimous decision victory over Mike
Whitehead at The Honda Center in Anaheim, California on July 19th. The win
was his third straight.
Sobral will soon move his training camp for the title fight to a brand-new
Gracie Barra Academy that he is slated to open in the Los Angeles suburb of
Cerritos on October 18th.
Riggs will attempt to rebound from the second round stoppage he suffered at
the hands of top 10 middleweight, Kazuo “The Grabaka Hitman” Misaki, at the
Playboy Mansion-hosted Strikeforce event. On the same card, Stewart
returned to the win column with a first round armbar submission of Jesse Juarez.
HP Pavilion doors will open at 5:30 PM for Strikeforce “Destruction” and
the first preliminary bout will begin at 6 PM. The main card will commence at
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which,
on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie”
event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state
history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank
Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP
Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995,
Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN
and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing
promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs.
Gracie.” Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed
martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni”
card on June 22, 2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at
the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007. On April 12th of this
year, Strikeforce launched the first-ever 52 week MMA series on one of the
four major television networks in The U.S. – NBC.
Mike Afromowitz, Strikeforce – (917) 566-8754 or