Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Dark Horse – Shane Del Rosario

By Nick Halili

Some of the biggest names in MMA’s heavyweight division have been assembled for the Strikeforce World Grand Prix. Some are calling the tournament a throwback to the glory days of the PRIDE Fighting Championships. It all starts on Saturday February 12, when Emelianenko, arguably the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, faces off against the mammoth Antonio “Big Foot” Silva. However, just like Rocky Balboa got his one-in-a-million chance against champion Apollo Creed on screen, a largely unknown fighter may just get the chance to crash this party of heavyweight greats. On the undercard to Fedor vs. Silva, up-and-coming heavyweights Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson will fight for the opportunity to be an alternate in the Grand Prix should one of the headliners gets injured.

Del Rosario, the 28-year-old Orange County, CA native who may get this chance of a lifetime, is far from a typical mixed martial artist. Unlike many fighters of this generation, Del Rosario did not grow up watching UFC 1 and idolizing Royce Gracie. “I was more the kind of person to just go out and do it instead of watching it,” he recalls. Growing up near the beach in Dana Point, Del Rosario surfed and played basketball as a youth. On a whim, he and a bunch of friends in high school started training with UFC pioneer Marco Ruas. After getting his psychology degree at UC Irvine, Del Rosario had to make a choice: go to graduate school or give the fight game a shot.

 

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