Jake Shields is a great fighter. More to the point, he’s a phenomenal ground specialist. His jiu-jitsu is off the charts and combined with his formidable wrestling skills, there would be (but) perhaps (only) two fighters in the 170 division that would risk rolling with him and that would be Demian Maia and Nick Diaz. Odd and absent from that list is the name of George St. Pierre. When the welter-weight champion had the chance (April 2011) to test his metal against Jake on the ground, Rush gave the opportunity a pass.
The knock on Jake has been that his stand-up has not been as formidable as his ground-game. However and since his fight with GSP 26 months ago, he’s improved. He’s not Anderson Silva, but then again who is but "the man" himself. No, Jake has put together a pretty solid stand-up game and it has improved his overall game. In his match with Rush, I for one was shocked at how good his stand-up actually was. I was expecting GSP to have his way with Shields in that department, yet that wasn’t the case. Jake held his ground and returned fire with solid jabs. The Champ’s post-fight-face was proof of it.
However it’s 2013, now. GSP is gone from the Octagon and come Saturday night it will be Tyrone Woodley who will be opposite of Jake in the ring. If there’s a St. Pierre metaphor for this fight it would be this, "The Chosen One" is more Rush circa 2005-2006 then he would be Rush of 20013. Woodley is hungry. Shields should expect a “climbing-to-the-top-of-the-ladder” performance from Woodley on Saturday night. Not an “ensure-I-stay-there-once-I-get-there” outing from Tyrone.
Woodley has heavy hands and better stand-up. If this ends up being a kick-boxing fight, because Jake either chooses to keep it standing or can’t get it to the ground, for surely Tyrone won’t be attempting it and he would be foolish to do so if he did, then Jake better have his shields up, because he willprobably get KO’d if he doesn’t.
As always, let us know what your take on the fight is.
Enjoy the bout.