The all heavyweight main card at UFC 146 will feature a bout between two quickly rising heavyweight prospects in Shane del Rosario and Stipe Miocic. Both fighters are undefeated and have decorated backgrounds with Rosario being a former kickboxing champion, and Miocic a former Golden Gloves winner and national wrestling champion at Cleveland State University. The winner of this fight is looking to shed the “prospect” tag and announce themselves as legit threats to be on the lookout for. Let’s see how this one breaks down.
Shane del Rosario (11-0) is coming off a year long layoff as he hasn’t fought since a submission win over Lavar Johnson in February 2011. Del Rosaro was involved in a wreck involving a drunk driver that put him on the shelf with a back injury among other things. He has never gone to a decision, finishing all but one of his opponents in the very first round. Del Rosario has a muay thai striking base in which he was the WBC Muay Thai World Heavyweight Champion and is also versed in submissions.
Stipe Miocic (8-0) is coming off a first round KO win over Phil De Fries earlier this year. It was Miocic’s second UFC win after defeating veteran Joey Beltran via unanimous decision in his debut at UFC 136. Miocic has good size and is versed in striking as well as wrestling as I already mentioned.
I think the big x-factor in this fight is the long layoff for Del Rosario as well as his recovery from the back injury. Most people are never the same after suffering back injuries or anything related to herniated discs. On the feet Miocic will have a slight reach advantage but I do not forsee that being a huge advantage with the kickboxing style that Del Rosario has. Miocic does tend to block punches with his face at times, so Del Rosario will be looking to land big shots to put him away. According to Fightmetric Del Rosario is the more accurate striker of the two fighters. Of course, Miocic will be looking to do the same as the former Golden Gloves champion does have power in his strikes as well.
If Miocic gets into trouble he should be able to get the fight to the ground if he wants as Del Rosario hasn’t faced anyone with the wrestling credentials that Miocic has. While Del Rosario is versed in submissions, I don’t see him pulling off anything off his back and Miocic’s wrestling base will likely be too good when coupled with the sheer size of these fighters.
I think I like Miocic in this one as he has been the busier fighter and I’m just not sure that Del Rosario will be the same after the long layoff and injuries. Del Rosario certainly could connect and put Miocic away, but I think Miocic has more tools to win this one. Miocic via decision or TKO.