Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

Jake Shields debut in the UFC was not flashy, but it got the job done as he won the split decision over Martin Kampmann at UFC 121. The judges saw the fight 28-29, 30-27, 29-28 for Shields in Anaheim on Saturday.

As expected, Shields took Kampmann down quickly to start the fight, and worked diligently there until the final minute of the round. Shields used leg kicks to keep Kampmann from closing the distance, and tried for another takedown as the round ended.

Shields continued to show his grappling game in the second round, controlling Kampmann on the ground. Kampmann was able to inflict some damage, twice hitting Shields in the face with knees while the two were clinched up. But when on the ground, Shields ruled the round, passing Kampmann's guard with ease. Shields slowed his pace in this round.

A gassed Shields had trouble getting Kampmann to the ground in the final round. When it finally happened, Shields continued to outgrapple Kampmann, but the pace of the fight was slow. Kampmann never really was able to take control of the fight away from Shields, and didn't unload in stand-up as he is able to do.

Though Shields, the Strikeforce middleweight champ who vacated his belt to sign with the UFC, had fought at welterweight in the past, his last fights for Strikeforce were at middleweight with last welterweight bout was in 2008 against Paul Daley. The cut down to welterweight appeared to be a bad one, because he had no problem fighting for five rounds in his April title defense with Dan Henderson.

Shields was supposed to be guaranteed a title shot with a win over Kampmann, but this bout raises two questions. One, was the win good enough to earn the title shot, and two, can Shields fight at 170 lbs.?

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