by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The main event of Friday night’s Strikeforce Challengers 9 in Everett, Wash., featured undefeated heavyweight prospect Shane Del Rosario, who added Hawaiian fighter Lolohea Mahe to his hit list.
Del Rosario pushed the pace from the beginning, displaying his Muay Thai skills via bruising leg kicks and driving knees. Mahe made a fight of it though, landing a stunning kick to Del Rosario’s body, but he couldn’t keep up with Del Rosario’s attacks.
Clinching late in the opening round, Del Rosario drove a knee to Mahe’s head as the Hawaiian leaned over. He then drove knees to Mahe’s body, causing him to crumple to one knee, the referee stepping in to call a halt to the bout.
“I’m ready to move on, step up the competition,” said Del Rosario, who improved his record to 10-0 with the win.
He may now be in line for a fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and sounds ready for the challenge.
“He’s a great fighter. I’ve always been a fan of him,” commented Del Rosario. “That would be the ultimate test for me. I’m down for it.”
Making his third start for Strikeforce, Bobby Voelker pulled out a razor-thin split decision over Cory Devela in a welterweight feature bout. The fight was a mixed bag of clinching and ground and pound with Devela seeming to be in control most of the fight, but the judges saw it differently, two of them scoring it in Voelker’s favor.
The win puts Voelker back on the winning track after losing to Roger Bowling at Strikeforce Challengers 8. For Devela, the loss was his third straight and will leave him searching for a way to right the ship.
Once banished from the sport for his in-ring anger management issues, Mike Kyle has reformed and become one of the more promising fighters in Strikeforce’s light heavyweight division. He scored his sixth straight victory in a tough fight with Ron “Abongo” Humphrey on Friday night.
Kyle started off strong with his boxing, but was nearly submitted on several occasions in the opening round. He bounced back towards the end of the round one with two flying knees before finishing the fight in round two. He took Humphrey down early in the second, quickly transitioning to full mount, and then taking Humphrey’s back and submitting him with a rear naked choke.
The victory could set Kyle up for a shot at the winner of the Aug. 21 title fight between 205-pound champion Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and challenger Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante.
“God’s been really good to me. This is just a steppingstone. God has a lot planned for me. I’m ready for things to open up,” said Kyle after the fight, stopping just shy of saying he should get the shot at the title.
“When God blesses me with the opportunity, I’ll be ready for it.”
Washington based fighter Caros Fodor dominated Thomas Diagne in the opening bout on Showtime, dropping the Cung Le trained fighter twice in the first minute with short left hooks. He had Diagne in several submission attempts, but controlled most of the fight from the clinch, unable to finish him off. Fodor did, however, walk away with a unanimous decision.