"Ruthless" Robbie Lawler To Face Renato "Babalu" SobralA 195-pound catchweight between former EliteXC Middleweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler and former Strikeforce 205-pound champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral will headline Strikeforce: “Live” at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Sherdog.com first reported on the June 16th matchup.

Lawler was initially thought to be facing Jason “Mayhem” Miller in a rematch on the card, but Miller’s post-fight antics following Strikeforce: “Shields vs Henderson” on CBS could result in a suspension. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker opted not to use Miller in the main event.

Lawler (17-5-0, 1 NC), who also held the ICON Sport Middleweight Championship, has lost just twice in his last 12 bouts. He captured the EliteXC title with a third-round stoppage of Murilo “Ninja” Rua in 2007 and successfully defended the belt against Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith before the promotion folded. Lawler was upset by current Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields in their June meeting last year, but pulled off one of the best comeback victories of 2010 when he knocked out Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef in January. A win over Sobral could potentially lead to another crack at Strikeforce gold.

Sobral (35-8-0) has competed in mixed martial arts for well over 12 years and holds big victories over the likes of Trevor Prangley, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Jeremy Horn, Chael Sonnen and “The African Assassin” Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. He captured the Strikeforce title in late 2008, but was defeated in just one minute by Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi in his first title defence last August. The jiu-jitsu specialist has competed among the best throughout his career, but must now battle back into contention after the loss to Mousasi. He will face a tough test when he meets Lawler.

Strikeforce: “Live” is set for June 16th at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The event will air live on Showtime. It is not known whether Miller will be a part of the card and his immediate future remains uncertain as the Tennessee State Athletic Commission determines whether to suspend the charismatic middleweight.


(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)