April 27, 2011
Shields no match for Canada's GSP
By DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
Jake Shields is a dangerous man. Or, at least, that’s what Dana White wants you to believe.
Shields is being billed by the UFC as the greatest threat to Canadian superstar Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight belt since, well, since the last guy who fought GSP for his welterweight belt. That was Josh Koscheck back on Dec. 11, 2010 at UFC 124, and we all know what happened then: St. Pierre walked away with belt in hand, same as he had done in his four previous title defences.
His sixth is coming up this Saturday night at the mammoth UFC 129, and until we see otherwise — and despite the protestations of White and even GSP himself — there’s no reason to believe that, when the evening ends somewhere around the midnight hour, the outcome will be any different.
Of course, that didn’t stop White from pumping up Shields in front of a throng of media and a couple of hundred fans down at the Direct Energy Centre on Wednesday afternoon. That’s his job after all — to sell the fight.
“A lot of people didn’t know Jake Shield before this fight,” White said at the news conference. “But Jake Shields has been around for a long time. You ask anybody in the world who knows anything about mixed martial arts, who has ever trained or been anywhere near Jake Shields will tell you; this is a very, very dangerous fight for Georges St. Pierre.”
St. Pierre willingly agreed with the assessment.
But is the former Strikeforce middleweight champ, who’s out to ruin what the city of Toronto is hoping will be one big Canadian bash, really dangerous enough to take down GSP?
The odds-makers certainly don’t think so, listing Shields as a big underdog, and the 29-year-old St. Pierre (21-2-0) likely doesn’t either. If he did, the Montreal native wouldn’t be so eager to pump up his opponent in interviews and on television shows.
That’s not to take away anything from Shields; he’s a great fighter. The 32-year-old American (26-4-1) is on a torrid 15-fight win streak and hasn’t lost a mixed martial arts bout in an incredible six years. He’s been a world title holder five times and has gotten the better of plenty of top-notch fighters. But he’s never fought anyone as complete as GSP.
St. Pierre comes into this fight at the height of his prowess — winning 14 of his past 15 bouts (all UFC matches) and 30 consecutive rounds — an undeniable machine whose athleticism is unmatched in the welterweight division. He’s a game-changer. Shields? Hard worker, yes. Game changer, no.
As well, Shields has never come into such hostile territory — 55,000 rabid fans, the majority of who will be in the Canadian’s corner. Shields can talk about how it’s only going to be him and GSP in the octagon, but it’s likely to be an overwhelming experience for the American. And then, too, there was that lacklustre split decision win over Martin (Hitman) Kampmann at UFC 121 in Shields’ only fight so far in the UFC, a result that raises some questions as to the depth of his record.
Still, Shields is not to be taken lightly. He will be a formidable opponent. But you can mark this down now: GSP by unanimous decision.
This and That
Great news for fight fans who were unable to get their hands on one of the 55,000 tickets for UFC 129. Tom Wright, the UFC’s director of Canadian operations, said at the news conference on Wednesday afternoon that more tickets could be on sale shortly. “Probably by the end of Wednesday or early Thursday we’ll have all of the bleachers set up and I’m expecting there probably will be a few hundred more tickets for sale. As soon as we know, we’ll let everyone else know,” Wright said … If you still can’t make it to the fight, there are plenty of events to catch as UFC fever sweeps the GTA. Fighters and Octagon Girls will be hitting Dundas Square from noon til 8 p.m. on Friday and you can watch the free weigh-ins event at Ricoh Coliseum, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Also, for the first time ever, there is a gathering of all seven UFC title holders at 3:15 p.m., also at Ricoh Coliseum … For those who can’t make it to Ricoh Coliseum, UFC.com and MMAjunkie.com will provide a live stream of the event and the following weigh-ins.