UFC 146 fight card: Stipe Miocic vs Shane del Rosario fight prediction, preview and breakdown

Stipe Miocic (L) and Shane del Rosario (R) will meet in a battle of unbeaten Heavyweight prospects tonight (May 26, 2012) at UFC 146 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Esther Lin via MMAFighting.com.

In a battle of unbeaten Heavyweight prospects, the showdown between Stipe Miocic vs. Shane del Rosario at UFC 146 later tonight (May 26, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, is definitely a nod toward the future.

Del Rosario made some respectable showings in Strikeforce, showcasing his athleticism and competency with three first-round steamrollings, including one of Lavar Johnson. Miocic is yet another talented college wrestler with athleticism on his side as well.

Something has got to give once the dynamic duo step inside the Octagon this evening.

Follow me after the jump for a complete breakdown of the UFC 146 fight between Stipe Miocic vs. Shane del Rosario:

The Breakdown

Showdowns between rising prospects are fascinating match ups, because chances are both guys haven't really been tested as sternly as they're likely to be come fight night. Hitting the wall as an Octagon first-timer is always a concern, as is having few long fights; in both of these categories, Miocic could have a massive advantage; del Rosario longest bout in an 11-fight career is a mere 6:07, finishing Carl Seumanutafa.

Miocic was two Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wins under his belt, including an important gut-check decision over Joey Beltran, where he seemed to slow down over the second half of the bout, but he finished strong. Stipe's wrestling and takedown advantage will be considerable, and he'll have to use them to put del Rosario, a good striker, on his back early to take the play away from him.

The Pick

I wasn't overly impressed with del Rosario in Strikeforce, where he faced a much lower level of competition then he's dealing with here. Add in Miocic's grappling edge and the big pluses of UFC experience and longer fights, and this is a recipe that only gets worse for del Rosario as the bout progresses.

There's the chance he could land something early -- always a possibility with heavyweights -- but Miocic seems to possess the resolute toughness and resilience to soldier through bad spots and keep pressing. Plus, he'll be able to take it to the mat at will, since del Rosario's spotty takedown defense is an issue.

Look for a feeling-out first half of the opening round, before Miocic's underrated hands and quick shots turn the momentum his way, as he wears down a fading del Rosario en route to a ground and pound technical knockout win late in the second.

Miocic via technical knockout

Be sure to join MMAmania.com this evening for LIVE, detailed UFC 146 results of all the "Dos Santos vs. Mir" pay-per-view (PPV) action. It will include blow-by-blow coverage of the Facebook video stream, FX "Prelims" bouts, and of course, the PPV broadcast. We'll start RIGHT HERE at around 7:00 p.m. ET and carry straight on through early Sunday morning.

See you later!

Jason Probst can be reached at twitter.com/jasonprobst or jasonprobst@gmail.com.

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