Southworth injured; ‘Babalu’ Draws Ruiz in Strikeforce

Aug 26, 2008
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A potentially torn ACL and meniscus will prevent Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth (Pictures) from being able to defend his crown against Renato “Babalu” Sobral at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday, Sept. 20. Replacing the ailing Southworth in the fight with Sobral will be Anthony Ruiz (Pictures).

The 38-year-old Southworth sustained the knee injury during a routine training session at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose. A physician, who pinpointed the affected areas, has ordered Southworth to undergo an MRI exam to determine the extent of the damage and to go through four to six weeks of physical therapy.

Ruiz, a 30-year-old resident of Modesto, Calif., is coming off a July 26 unanimous judges’ decision victory over Jeremy Freitag (Pictures). Ruiz holds a 1-1 record against Southworth. After their initial meeting, a non-title bout on November 16, 2007, was stopped 52 seconds into the second round due to a cut Ruiz had opened around Southworth’s eye, Ruiz was awarded a win by TKO. Southworth avenged the loss by legging out a five-round, unanimous judges’ decision over Ruiz at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on June 27th.

“Strikeforce at the Mansion II” will be highlighted by a showdown between 2006 Pride Fighting Championship Grand Prix winner and world top 10 ranked Kazuo Misaki (Pictures) and 25-year-old former UFC star Joe Riggs (Pictures). Twenty-four year old thoroughbred Cory Devela (Pictures) will bid for his eighth consecutive victory when he takes on what is arguably his most dangerous challenge to date, heavy-handed Terry Martin (Pictures), in a middleweight (185 lb. limit) contest Newly crowned Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion Josh Thomson (Pictures) will also return to action in a three-round, non-title matchup with Lion’s Den prodigy Ashe Bowman (Pictures).

In addition to a full night of MMA action, all “Strikeforce at the Mansion II” guests will be entitled to a top-shelf, open bar; buffet-style, gourmet dinner; and wine-tasting party featuring the spirits of various California gold medal wineries.

Strikeforce wrote a new chapter in sports history when it produced the first-ever MMA event at the Playboy Mansion last September. Amongst the host of celebrities who attended the affair were Playboy Enterprises Founder, Hugh Hefner and “The Girls Next Door;” comedians Gary Shandling and Joe Rogan; actress and model Jaime Pressly; actors Michael Duncan Clarke, Christina Fulton, Ethan Suplee, Ernie Hudson, and Page Kennedy; MMA legends Royce Gracie (Pictures) and Bas Rutten (Pictures); and superstars Cung Le (Pictures), Frank Shamrock (Pictures), Josh Barnett (Pictures), and Andrei Arlovski (Pictures). All inquiries regarding tickets for “Strikeforce At The Mansion II” should be directed to Dan Guiterrez at Strikeforce’s corporate headquarters (Ph # 408-998-8232.)

About Strikeforce:
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock (Pictures) against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie (Pictures) at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.” Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22nd of this year followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29th.
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