by Ken Pishna (Reporting by Tom Hamlin) – MMAWeekly.com
Renato “Babalu” Sobral defeated Bobby Southworth recently to capture the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship. One unfortunate side effect for the new titleholder, however, is that he has been removed from a fight against No. 3 ranked middleweight Matt Lindland.
Affliction had planned to pair Babalu and Lindland against each other at the promotion’s Jan. 24 event at The Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. It now appears that Babalu’s recent effort at 205 pounds for Strikeforce may have necessitated the bout with Lindland to be at a catch weight in the 190 to 195-pound range.
Affliction vice president Tom Atencio told MMAWeekly.com on Monday that he made an “executive decision” not to do the catch weight fight. He instead decided to pit Lindland against Vitor Belfort in a true middleweight contest at 185 pounds.
Belfort has been on a three-fight winning streak, his most recent effort being at Affliction’s debut outing in July. There he defeated fellow UFC veteran Terry Martin, knocking him out in the second round. It was an impressive debut for the Brazilian at 185 pounds.
His most recent effort also being on Affliction’s debut card, Lindland saw his first action in more than a year, defeating Fabio Nascimento in a three-round unanimous decision. He recently made a run at politics in his home state of Oregon, but lost his bid. Lindland has now returned to training for his January fight with a new focus.
Belfort and Lindland were scheduled to fight each other on the “Day of Reckoning” card when it was originally planned for October in Las Vegas. The move to January saw their bout split apart before the recent decision to put it back together.