Two terrific heavyweight strikers showcased their skills last night (Dec. 15, 2012) on The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale as Pat Barry battled former Strikeforce standout Shane Del Rosario on the main card in Las Vegas.
Del Rosario started strong, finding success with his range and his superior offense both in the clinch and on the ground, but Barry returned fire in the second round with one of the best knockouts of his highly entertaining career. So what helped Barry survive danger and bounce back?
Both men were evenly matched early on as Barry and Del Rosario worked some kicks and tried to feel each other out with punches. When Barry started to gain a bit of momentum, Del Rosario closed the distance and went to work in the clinch with inside position and several knees while pressing "HD" into the fence. Barry could not escape the position and during a scramble along the fence, Del Rosario was able to take his back.
Barry was able to keep the former kickboxing champion too high for him to finish off the choke, but left an opening for his arm and shoulder to be attacked. Barry survived the position and actually wound up on top for the final 15 seconds.
This was when the tides turned. Del Rosario has never gone the distance and he slows down dramatically after the first round. It was exhausting trying to finish Barry on the ground and once the second round started, Barry stepped forward and crushed Del Rosario with a beautiful overhand left which sent him stumbling backwards into the fence.
Seeing his opponent on wobbly legs, Barry pounced and blitzed forward, throwing several power shots and just smashing the Team Oyama fighter with a right hook which put him away. A few punches on the ground were just icing on the cake for him.
For Shane Del Rosario, his biggest mistake was being a bit sloppy with his ground work. He had Barry right where he wanted him on the ground and giving up his back, but he couldn't put him away because he got too overzealous jumping on a rear naked choke. You always hear the quote "position before submission" and it couldn't have been any more true than near the end of the first round where Del Rosario didn't put his hooks in when attacking with a choke and getting way too high. When his ground attack failed, he was a bit too tired to fend of Barry's power strikes in the second.