Will Jake Shields be Georges St. Pierre's toughest opponent to date?Posted on April 26, 2011, 02:50 AM by Ryan Ventura
When Jake Shields beat Dan Henderson to a unanimous decision at Strikeforce: Nashville last year I was shocked, did he ever prove me wrong. At the time Hendo left the UFC fresh off his devastating KO victory over Michael Bisping and was the favorite against Jake Shields in his Strikeforce debut. Before he defended his Middleweight crown against Dangerous Dan, Shields fought for at the time vacant Strikeforce belt against Jason Miller in a grappling clinic put on between the two and in the end took the unanimous decision.
I personally believed that Jake didn't have what it took to beat not only an Olympic class wrestler, but a very dangerous power puncher. Most of us should know that Jake Shields doesn't exactly have the best stand up in Mixed Martial Arts. But what he lacks in the striking department, he completely makes up for with his Caesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt and his very strong wrestling. If Shields can grab a hold of any fighter against him, you'll be in very big trouble trying to defend his takedown, submissions, and transitions. And if somehow you can get him on the ground, he has the tools to get out of any nasty situation grappling wise.
Against Dan Henderson, Shields was hit with some very dangerous shots but survived, and used his grappling abilities for five rounds to successfully defend his Middleweight strap. Months after that bout, he faced Martin Kampmann in his UFC debut and although he didn't look quite like the Jake Shields that beat Dan Henderson, he came home with the split decision, and a chance to fight arguably the world's best Welterweight in Georges St. Pierre. Since it's only Jake Shields 2nd fight in the promotion, many fans not familiar with his name have wondered why he deserves this big shot.
Since November 2005, Jake Shields has been undefeated for a total of fifteen straight fights. He has worn the Strikeforce Middleweight strap, the Elite XC Welterweight belt, was a Rumble on the Rock tournament Welterweight tournament winner, and a Shooto Middlweight champion. He has beaten names like Toby Imada, Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit on the same night, Nick Thomson, Paul Daley, Robbie Lawler, and of course Jason Miller, Dan Henderson, and Martin Kampmann as mentioned above. And also I can't forget to mention his credentials before he started his winning run in MMA. A three time Grapplers Quest Advance winner, a Gracie Open Superfight Champion, a 2005 Pan American BJJ Champion in the -77kg division, and a 2005 ADCC Bronze medalist. How does he not deserve this title shot and why is Georges St. Pierre such a heavy favorite?
Not taking away anything from GSP, he truly is the top dog in the welterweight division. He is the champion for a reason, he has outclassed the likes of BJ Penn, Jon Fitch, Matt Hughes, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck, and Dan Hardy. As good as Georges is, I don't doubt for one second that this bout against Jake Shields will be his toughest test to date. Georges St. Pierre may have some of the best wrestling in the game, but Jake Shields is on another level in the grappling department. If GSP can use his striking that made fans notice him in 2005 and exploit Shields' stand up game, he could leave Toronto as champion. If the fight goes to the ground, it'll be a long 25 minutes for both men, and I'd favor Shields in that situation. Jake Shields will and should be taken seriously, he seems to thrive been an underdog in his fights. Sleep on Shields, be put to sleep.
Photo: Jake Shields, left, spares at a open media workout session to promote a Strikeforce MMA card at the Legends gym on March 17, 2010 in Hollywood, California. Francis Specker