COMMENTARY | Jake Shields is not often spoken of as one of mixed martial arts' greatest fighters, but his record tells the tale of a man who has gone up against, and beaten, many of the top names in the sport. Shields has amassed a 28-6-1 record as a professional, with wins over talents like Dan Henderson, Carlos Condit, Martin Kampmann, and Yushin Okami.
Demian Maia compiled a 9-4 record at middleweight in the UFC. Since dropping down to welterweight in 2012, he has gone undefeated, winning three straight, his last win a dominant performance over Jon Fitch.
Maia was undersized at middleweight. When he was unable to take his larger opponents down, he relied on wild strikes, which led to unanimous decision losses to Mark Munoz and middleweight champion, Chris Weidman. At welterweight, he's been unstoppable, displaying strong takedowns, and arguably the best submission game in all of MMA.
Shields has had an interesting UFC run, going 3-2-1 so far. He's been involved in three close decision wins, and a decision loss against Georges St-Pierre that looked closer on paper than it really was. His win over Ed Herman was overturned due to a positive test for an illegal substance. Shields' only really bad loss came against Jake Ellenberger, under a minute into the first round. However, he hasn't looked like the same fighter that ran through quality competition in Strikeforce and EliteXC.
When the two fighters meet Oct. 9 on FS1, Maia is a strong favorite. The odds are on the fight being highly entertaining if the two elite grapplers engage in a battle of submission attempts; it'll most likely be a snooze-fest if it's a stand up match. Shields has never had above average striking, and Maia has always been more wild than tactical. They've each had their share of lackluster stand up stalemates.
Maia appears ready to move to the top of the ladder at 170 pounds. Shields, given the UFCs recent releases, could very well be fighting for his job. The ingredients are there for an exciting fight...or a real stinker.
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