Though the Cameroon fighter was one of the latest casualties dropped from the UFC’s lengthy roster in the last three weeks, Sokoudjou has already accepted a bout against Renato “Babalu” Sobral at Affliction “Day of Reckoning” on Jan. 24 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The 2001 US Open Judo Championships winner will face Sobral in a light heavyweight contest under a single-fight contract he agreed to this week, confirmed a Team Quest representative. The addition of Sokoudjou fills a key slot left vacant when Matt Lindland was re-assigned from a 195-pound catch weight bout with Sobral to a middleweight matchup against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort.
Sokoudjou was also courted by K-1, which offered him an MMA-rules bout against kickboxing champion Semmy Schilt at “Premium Dynamite 2008” on New Year’s Eve in Saitama, Japan, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Interest was also said to have come from World Victory Road’s Sengoku outlet, which will host its next event on Jan. 4 at the Saitama Super Arena, but specifics were not available.
A standout of Dan Henderson’s Team Quest gym in Murrieta, Calif., Sokoudjou (5-3) will use the promotional move as an opportunity to stabilize a career that launched in overdrive, but has fizzled in the last few months.
An unknown in February 2007 at Pride 33 “The Second Coming” in Las Vegas, the 1500-1 underdog knocked out then Olympic boxing hopeful Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in 23 seconds flat. The muscular, dreadlocked fighter topped that performance less than two months later at Pride 34 “Kamikaze,” sending Brazilian Top Team’s Ricardo Arona to the canvas in 119 seconds in the last event held under Dream Stage Entertainment’s banner.
Following Zuffa’s purchase of Pride in March 2007, the athletic 24 year old signed a four-fight contract with the UFC, but struggled in the Octagon. Sokoudjou amassed a 1-2 record, dropping losses to the undefeated Lyoto Machida and Luis Arthur Cane, who stopped “the African Assassin” on punches late in the second round at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England, last October.
Sobral (31-7) was crowned the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion on Nov. 22 in San Jose, Calif., after he sliced open Bobby Southworth with a standing elbow that led to a doctor’s stoppage after round one.
This article has been revised for the following correction:
Correction: Dec. 11, 2008 (10:22 p.m. EST)
This item initally reported that Sobral-Sokoudjou had been signed, though the bout has only been verbally agreed to at this time.
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