Shane Del Rosario made short shrift of mammoth Hawaiian Lolohea Mahe at Strikeforce Challengers IX, working the bigger man hard in the clinch with knees to the face followed up by punches.
Michael David Smith reported:
Del Rosario showed off some punching power, including a left hand that rocked Mahe, but it was Del Rosario's knees that really finished the fight, with a knee to the head and one to the body knocking Mahe down and putting into the fetal position, which is what led the referee to bring the fight to an end. Mahe was no threat to Del Rosario, and it's time for Strikeforce to put Del Rosario in the cage with better opponents.
So who might a better opponent be? There's been talk that Bobby Lashley would fight Del Rosario, but Lashley doesn't want that fight, and it doesn't appear likely to happen. Del Rosario said afterward that he wanted to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski, and that fight could make sense. Del Rosario is ready for the big time.
This brings Del Rosario to 10-0 and surely bigger and better things await.
After the bout, Strikeforce announcer Mauro Ranallo mentioned Andrei Arlovski as a potential future opponent for Del Rosario. While that match makes perfect sense for Del Rosario who is starving for a chance to take on a name fighter and get the attention of fans, it makes almost no sense for Arlovski.
The former UFC champ is coming off three straight losses to Fedor Emelianenko, Brett Rogers and Antonio Silva. If Strikeforce throws him to the wolves against Del Rosario, it's a clear admission on their part that they're giving up on Arlovski. With his relatively high pay rates and lack of results, it makes perfect sense.
The fact that Strikeforce's heavyweight class is thinner than
Yao Ming the late Manute Bol doesn't help any either. If Del Rosario were in the UFC he'd likely be facing another up and comer like Brendan Schaub or Todd Duffee next, not being built up at the expense of a still-marketable ex-champ. But this is Strikeforce so I guess we should be happy they're not going to keep him exiled on Challenger cards any longer.