The 411 MMA Top 10 10.21.13: Top 10 Jake Shields Fights
Posted by Alex Rella on 10.21.2013
From his battle with Dan Henderson and his bout with Jason "Mayhem" MIller to his war with Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock 9 and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Jake Shields fights!
Jake Shields' Top Ten Fights
What's up everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at Jake Shields best fights. I know Jake Shields is far from the most exciting fighter today, but he had some good fights before coming to the UFC. An EliteXC welterweight champion and Strikeforce Middleweight champion, Shields is one of the best grapplers in MMA today. Some may not be happy with it, but his recent win over Maia put him back near the top ten of the UFC's welterweight division. Anyway, this week's list is ranked based on fight quality, the significance of the fight in relation to his career, and some of my personal opinion.
• VS Shannon Ritch- Ritch has a 53-76 record and none of his fights have gone to decision. Ritch has never defeated a top fighter, but he does lose to them in entertaining fashion and this was no different as Shields choked him out to pick up the third win of his career.
• VS Dave Menne-Shields defeated the former UFC middleweight champion by unanimous decision in the first round of the Rumble on the Rock tournament.
• VS GSP UFC 129- This was far from the best fight in the world, but it's pretty significant. EArning a title shot in the UFC at 170 lbs is hard enough. Jake fell short and lost his first fight since 2004, but he did take two rounds off of GSP which very few men have been able to do.
10: VS Renato Verissimo EliteXC: Uprising
This week might be the only time Renato Verissimo comes up in my column, but he was a tough fighter. One of BJ Penn's training partners, Verissimo had victories over UFC number one contender Gil Castillo, former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton, and lost a close fight to Matt Hughes. Except for his three UFC fights, Verissimo spent the rest of his career fighting on his home state of Hawaii and he was Jake Shields first opponent in EliteXC. He was even able to surprise Shields with a takedown, but it didn't do much as they worked almost right back up. Shields brought the fight down to the ground with a trip and then he went to work with ground and pound. The fight lasted four minutes, but the fight went on way longer than it should as there were way too many unprotected shots which included some big elbows. This was Verissimo's final fight and the last time Shields finished someone via strikes.
The Rumble on Rock welterweight tournament is probably most remembered by fans for Anderson Silva's controversial loss to Yushin Okami. But after that loss, Okami moved on to fight Jake Shields in the semifinals. Shields had just defeated former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne in the opening round. Shields had only fought a handful of times since his victory over Hayoto Sakurai back in 2002, while Okami came into this one on a five fight winning streak with experience competing in Pancrase and Pride. Shields would win the fight by majority decision and go on to win the whole tournament. This was just the start of his huge winning streak that would last until the beginning of 2011.
8: VS Mike Pyle EliteXC: Renegade
Mike Pyle is a very underrated fighter. The former WEC welterweight champion has fought all over including EliteXC, Strikeforce, M-1 Global, IFL, Affliction, and the UFC. This was originally supposed to be for the welterweight title, but Pyle turned it down as he didn't want to stay with the company after this fight. This made for an interesting matchup at the time as Pyle is also a great grappler in his own right. Pyle was able to stuff Shields' first takedown and get in some good knees. Shields' next attempt was successful, but they worked almost right back up to their feet. Pyle went for a trip of his own, but Shields ended up on top. They worked on the ground for a bit, but Shields eventually moved to side control, to mount, and eventually got his back where he locked in a rear naked choke to end it.
7: VS Carlos Condit Rumble on the Rock 9
The Rumble on the Rock 2006 welterweight tournament was quietly a very stacked tournament. It had Frank Trigg, Yushin Okami, Dave Menne, Renato Verissimo, Carlos Condit, Jake Shields, and Anderson Silva. Shields took on Condit in the finals after defeating Menne and Okami, while Condit defeated Verissimo and Trigg. Jake Shields got busted open early in the first round, but he went on to win the fight by unanimous decision and the tournament. Shields won this fight exactly as you would expect him to against Condit. Except for a few moments here and there, almost the entire fight was spent on the ground as Shields was able to take Condit down at will. It's kinda cool watching a fight now between two guys before they reached their true potential.
6: Hayoto Sakurai Shooto Year End Show 2002
Jake Shields had only been fighting for three years and had a 7-3 record when he took on Hayoto Sakurai. Sakurai is one of the greatest Japanese fighters of all time. A former UFC number one contender, 2005 PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix runner up, and Shooto welterweight champion that has wins over Frank Trigg, Jens Pulver, and Shinya Aoki. The two had a fun grappling contest as Jake Shields won by unanimous decision. This was a huge accomplishment considering that the only people that were able to defeat Sakurai prior to this point were Matt Hughes and Anderson Silva.
5:VS Nick Thompson EliteXC: Unfinished Business
Well this one was quick. After defeating Mike Pyle, Jake Shields finally got to compete in the inaugural EliteXC welterweight title fight. His opponent was Nick Thompson. Thompson came into the fight with a 36-9-1 record and recently knocked out Eddie Alvarez. Shields scored a takedown and Thompson furiously tried to roll out of it. He was able to escape, but Shields jumped on him and locked in a guillotine choke. This was a big win for Shields as he picked up his first title in a major promotion. Thompson wasn't the best fighter in the world, but he certainly wasn't a slouch and this was a dominant performance from Shields back when he looked to finish people.
4: VS Paul Daley EliteXC: Heat
This was the co-main event of EliteXC's final show. It's mostly remembered for Ken Shamrock getting injured the day of the event and Kimbo Slice losing to fill in Seth Petruzelli, but it was a pretty good show. The rest of the main card had Murilo Rua, Gina Carano, and Andrei Arlovski vs Roy Nelson. This was Jake Shields' only defense of the EliteXC welterweight title and he took Paul Daley. While I think Paul Daley is a tool, he is a talented fighter that came into this one on a six fight winning streak. Shields dominated the first round, but Daley looked better as the second round started. Daley was connecting with some shots and defended Shields' first takedown attempts. But Shields was eventually able to muscle him down to the ground. There he went to work with some less than great ground and pound, but it eventually setup an armbar for the win. Shields called out Robbie Lawler after the fight and he would turn out to be his first opponent in Strikeforce.
3: VS Robbie Lawler Strikeforce: Lawler vs Shields
A good portion of EliteXC's fighters moved over to Strikeforce after the company put all their eggs in Kimbo Slice's basket and ended up going bankrupt. EliteXC's middleweight and welterweight champions took on each other in a 182 pound catchweight fight. This was another stacked show with Mike Kyle vs Rafael Cavalcante, Joe Riggs vs Phil Baroni, Nick Diaz vs Scott Smith, and Brett Rogers vs Andrei Arlovski in the co-main event. One of the best examples of striker versus grappler, this was a fun two minute fight. Lawler was able to keep the fight standing, but that wasn't enough as Shields was able to push his head down and lock in a guillotine. Lawler tried to shake him off, but it was no use as he tapped and Shields was successful in his Strikeforce debut.
2: VS Dan Henderson Strikeforce: Nashville
Dan Henderson was a huge signing for Strikeforce back in 2009. A former Pride champion and true legend that could compete for them at different weight classes. He came into the organization wanting to fight Shields, the light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi, and Fedor Emelianenko. Hendo's first fight was against Shields for the middleweight title on CBS. Strikforce's lightweight and light heavyweight titles were also on the line that night, but this was the best choice for the main event considering Henderson's star power and Shields' dominance over the past couple years. The first round was great as Henderson unloaded on Shields with his big right hand knocking down the champion, but Shields wouldn't give up. The next four rounds weren't as exciting though. Hendo slowed down considerably after the first round and Shields capitalized on it by controlling him on the ground. A completely dominating performance for Shields as he out grappled one of the best fighters of all time for four rounds. Shields won by unanimous decision as he picked up the biggest win of his career. Yea and then the post fight brawl happened, but none of that mess is worth talking about at this point.
1: VS Jason Miller Strikeforce: Fedor vs Rogers
Cung Le defeated Frank Shamrock to win Strikeforce's middleweight title, but he would later vacate the title to focus on his acting career. Jake Shields took on Jason Miller to decide the new champion. This was Miller's Strikeforce debut, but he came into the organization with wins over Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler. Some say Shields fight with Henderson was his best fight, but to me this one was much closer and more exciting. Shields won by unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46), but the whole fight was close, especially in rounds two through four. Most of the fight was spent on the ground as you would expect and Miller was able to match him there for a good portion of it. Miller took him down, slammed Shields, and even gave him a German suplex. Miller came close to finishing it with a rear naked choke in the third, but Shields was saved by the ball as he was only seconds away from losing the title. It did have some less than exciting moments on the ground, but both fighters were actively looking to finish the other for the most part. Even their submission attempts and reversals on the ground were fun to watch. Miller hoped for a rematch, but he never got one and both men only fought one more time each in Strikeforce. Shields did go on Bully Beatdown twice though.
• So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fight out that you thought should be in the top 10.
• As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.