Much have been said about UFC 129’s Welterweight Championship match this Sunday, but if there’s someone who just might give Georges St-Pierre the fight of his career in the post-Serra era, it would most definitely be Jake Shields, the guy who himself is coming off a 15-fight win streak.
Unheard of in the UFC but an immensely popular and prevailing fighter outside of it, Jake is a former Strikeforce and Elite XC title holder in the middleweight and welterweight division. Among those he's won over are Dan Henderson, Yushin Okami, and Paul Daley, all of which came in as the favorite and out as a loser.
Shields is by no means anything like Anderson or Fedor; his presence doesn’t even look all that imposing. Jake in fact, has only won by TKO a total of 3 times in 30 fights. He is however the most ground-invested fighter St-Pierre will ever face outside of the legendary Matt Hughes.
Georges St-Pierre has always proclaimed his preparations for each of his fights, but Sunday’s bout would be one of the very few times he’s acknowledging an opponent’s skill set as well. Shields, most proficient on the ground like Georges, is notorious for his wrestling and American Jiu-Jitsu.
But ask what style GSP isn’t good at and you might find yourself on the frustrating end of a hole-less game plan. The champion is currently honing his jiu-jitsu skills with Strikeforce’s Roger Gracie in London, while Shields continues to train under BJJ specialist Cesar Gracie in California.
"He's hard to game plan against. He's got so many variables; you don't know how he's going to fight,” says Shields. "So I have to bring in the same mix of tricks. Be switching things up, attacking him in different ways and I'm going to be ready for whatever he has to bring at me."
So the plan is for the fight to go anywhere the other takes it – a generally perplexing plan, but a fight plan both fighters could pull off nonetheless.
Wondering where to put our money, we figure Jake Shields could manage submission win, but will never outscore GSP en route to a decision victory. But dude will probably have a hard time finishing this fight alonein the first place, which is why our money must go to the champion – proven stronger, better, and more tactical than each of his last fights.
UFC 129 will be broadcasted live this Sunday, May 1, on Balls.
WORDS BY MIKEY AGULTO