After Bellator announced the signing of former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion “King” Mo Lawal, it was generally believed that he would have little-to-no competition on his way to a shot at the title. But with Bellator’s most recent signing, it appears Lawal will actually have some competition in the upcoming light heavyweight tournament.

In a press release received by TheMMACorner.com, Bellator announced they have signed UFC and Strikeforce veteran Renato “Babalu” Sobral. While Sobral is still recovering from a hand injury he suffered earlier this year, he is poised to make his promotional debut when Bellator kicks off their season eight light heavyweight tournament.

Sobral (37-9) hold victories over such notable opponents as Robbie Lawler, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Chael Sonnen. “Babalu” is 2-2 in his last four fights, and is coming off a 31-second armbar victory over Tatsuya Mizuno at One FC 4.

“Babalu is an awesome addition to the Bellator family. He’s beaten some of the greatest fighters in the sport, and poses a tremendous threat to every fighter in our light heavyweight division. From a fans perspective, hes incredibly exciting to watch, and I’m expecting big things from Babalu in January on Spike.” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney stated.

“I’m really happy to be a part of the Bellator family.” Sobral said. “This is my new home, and I can’t wait to get into the tournament. My only wish was that it could all be in one night, but I don’t think we can do that, so I’ll just put one more tournament under my belt, and I’m going to take this opportunity and get my shot at the Bellator world title.”

No official date has been set for the beginning of the next light heavyweight tournament, but it is expected to begin sometime in January.

Photo: Renato “Babalu” Sobral (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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