by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com

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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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


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


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."


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.


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


13 Video: Renato "Babalu" Sobral Post-fight


13 Video: Kim Couture Post-fight