Though Jake Shields made hard work of Yoshihiro Akiyama en route to a unanimous decision victory at UFC 144, the Cesar Gracie fighter still has the tools and the combative acumen to compete with the best that the 170-pound division has to offer.
In his contest with Akiyama, most of Shields' takedown attempts failed to come to fruition, which, had he been successful, would’ve brought his supreme jiu-jitsu skills into play. He also neglected to fully utilize his striking to the utmost of his abilities, and when he did, his strikes looked both slipshod and shoddy.
It could be said that Shields was having a bad day at the office, which can happen to any fighter; however, it was the aforementioned attacks that more or less garnered him the win, and that’s what matters.
Prior to his recent spate of less-than-impressive performances, Shields had ridden a 15-fight win streak spanning almost five years in the welterweight as well as 185-pound division.
He’d beaten the likes of Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit, and in his UFC debut, contentious though it might’ve have been, he scored a win over Martin Kampmann.
Shields followed that up with a title bout against Georges St-Pierre and whilst he couldn’t or didn’t employ the requisite tactics to cause the champion problems, he did hold his own against one of the world’s best MMA fighters.
In his third outing, he came unstuck against Jake Ellenberger; however, that loss could’ve been attributed to the passing away of his father.
With that said, his uninspiring match with “Sexyama” shouldn’t mask the fact that Shields is still one of the top 10 welterweights in the world, and as such, any insinuations that he can’t hack it with the upper-echelon 170-pounders should be put to bed until a later date.
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