Originally set to fight Vitor Belfort at Affliction: Trilogy, Gegard Mousasi will instead meet Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato “Babalu” Sobral at the August 1st event, according to M-1 Global, which cited sources close to Mousasi.
Mousasi, the former DREAM middleweight title-holder who vacated the belt to move up to light heavyweight, had been matched up with 185-pounder Belfort last week, only to have Belfort decline the matchup unless it was contested at middleweight. Mousasi refused, challenging Belfort to a catchweight bout, but Affliction has instead booked Sobral for his US debut.
A winner of twelve-straight fights, Mousasi (25-2-1) captured the DREAM title by defeating Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the finals of the 185-pound grand prix in September. Mousasi would never defend the title, however, relinquising the belt to move up to light heavyweight and fight in DREAM’s super hulk open-weight tournament, which kicked off on May 26 in Japan with Mousasi scoring a first-round submission of the much larger Mark Hunt to secure a spot in the semis later this year.
Sobral (31-7), who was cut from the UFC in 2007 after refusing to release a submission in a victory over David Heath, has won five-straight bouts, including a first-round TKO of Bobby Southworth in November to win the Strikeforce title and a second-round TKO of Rameu Thierry Sokoudjou in January at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.
Affliction: Trilogy takes place on August 1st at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and is headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett.
[Pictured: Gegard Mousasi]