The UFC’s game of heavyweight musical chairs has ended.
Promotion officials recently announced that unbeaten prospects Stipe Miocic and Shane del Rosario will collide May 26 at UFC 146. The event will be headlined by a heavyweight title tilt between former champion Frank Mir and reigning divisional ruler Junior dos Santos.
Dos Santos was originally slated to face former Strikeforce titlist Alistair Overeem at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, but Overeem withdrew from the bout after his pre-fight drug test revealed an elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratio. The Dutchman’s absence left a noticeable hole in the all-heavyweight main draw, causing the UFC to change several scheduled matchups.
Mir was promoted to the headlining spot, leaving Cain Velasquez temporarily without an opponent. However, the UFC soon announced that Antonio Silva would fill that void and subsequently revealed that Gabriel Gonzaga would slide in to face Roy Nelson. Now, Miocic has answered the call to face Gonzaga’s original opponent in del Rosario.
Miocic, 29, debuted with the UFC this past October after winning the North American Allied Fight Series heavyweight title. A former NCAA Division I wrestler at Cleveland State University, Miocic outpointed the durable Joey Beltran at UFC 136 before knocking out British grappler Philip De Fries in just 43 seconds two months ago at UFC on Fuel TV 1.
Del Rosario is a veteran of EliteXC and M-1 Global competition and has finished all 11 of his career victims. The 28-year-old debuted with Strikeforce in 2009 and has competed three times for the promotion, taking out Brandon Cash and Lolohea Mahe before submitting Lavar Johnson with a first-round armbar at “Fedor vs. Silva” in February.