Following his last fight, Renato “Babalu” Sobral took to the microphone and let it be known that he had some unfinished business with Dan Henderson, and he hoped to settle it in the Strikeforce cage.
Sobral wasn’t calling out Henderson because there was bad blood between the two of them, far from it actually. When the two competitors met at the earliest stages of their careers it was in Japan in 2000 during the Rings “King of Kings” tournament.
Henderson got the nod via the judges’ decision that night, but in the back of Sobral’s mind he knew that if the two ever met up again it would be an even better fight the second time around. He plans on proving that Saturday night at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2.
“This is not revenge, just an exciting match-up,” Sobral said recently. “It’s a great fight for the fans. We are totally different fighters than we were 10 years ago.’’
The first match-up saw the two engage in primarily a back-and-forth grappling battle with both men grabbing a few takedowns and looking for ground control. Sobral knows that he’s a much more dynamic fighter now, so while this is technically a rematch, each of their skill sets is in stark contrast to when they met a decade ago.
“Conditioning training has changed a lot, and I have a lot of different professionals that work with me. I was more amateur then, a young guy. I am totally different today because of all the stuff that I have learned over the past years. I train well and make fewer mistakes while training,” Sobral said about his progression in the sport.
One factor that hasn’t changed in the last 10 years is both Sobral and Henderson love the grappling aspect of the sport, and each will incorporate it into his strategy.
Eighteen of Sobral’s 36 wins have come by way of submission, and he’s shown in many past fights that his wrestling is on par with some of the best in the sport. He’s confident that he can show that off again on Saturday night when he meets Dan Henderson in St. Louis.
“I wrestle, myself, and Dan is a good wrestler, as well. I have been training a lot in wrestling, but I am very confident,” Sobral commented.
Whatever strategy Sobral brings into the fight on Saturday night, he wants to be dominant. He wants to put Dan Henderson down for the count, with no chance of the judges getting involved this time.
“This will be a tremendous fight, don’t worry about that,” Sobral stated. “I’m as prepared for this fight as I can be and will do whatever it takes to finish the fight.”