'Babalu' hoping for Strikeforce title defense against Ortiz

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On Friday night, Renato "Babalu" Sobral claimed his first major championship in the United States when he defeated Bobby Southworth to win the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship.

The fight didn't end the way Sobral surely hoped it would, as he opened a large cut over Southworth's right eye during the first round that was obviously a danger to him, and the doctor's put a stop to the bout.

After the fight was over, Babalu celebrated. While he has already offered to give Southworth a rematch, he is still happy to have the gold around his waist.

"I'm happy to be the champion and I trained hard for this fight," Sobral said. "Right now I'm the Strikeforce champion and I have to defend that."

The end maneuver that put Southworth out of the fight came midway through the first five-minute session, as the fighters clinched against the cage and Sobral threw a short elbow that connected flush on his opponent's forehead.

"No, I wasn't because when I threw the elbow I felt his skull on my elbow," Sobral answered when asked if he was surprised the fight was stopped when it was.

The original gameplan for the fight was to take Southworth to the mat, but Babalu complemented his opponent's preparation and skill in the fight.

"I tried to take him down, he showed high level skill, wrestling skill," Babalu commented. "He defends very well against the cage and I couldn't take him down, but I was comfortable on my back."

Following this fight, Babalu will head straight back into training as a fight against Matt Lindland on the Affliction "Day of Reckoning" card on Jan. 24 looms just around the corner. And as for his Strikeforce title defense, Babalu can't escape the questions about a possible match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz.

"It would be awesome," Sobral said about a fight against Ortiz. "That would be great, that would be like a very good dessert."