UFC 144 – Jake Shields vs Yoshihiro Akiyama Preview

Jake Shields had a rough 2011. He lost to GSP in front of the largest crowd in UFC history in what was a fight that was almost universally disliked. His father, who served as a mentor and manager to him, passed away. Then he fought Jake Ellenberger right after that, and was knocked out in around a minute. That’s a brutal year right there, but he’s a Cesar Gracie guy, so he should be mentally tough enough to rebound from a year like that. He’s a guy that has managed to pull of a 15 fight win streak and has excellent wrestling/grappling, so he’ll still have a place inside the UFC.

Akiyama has had a rough time in his UFC career too. After beating Alan Belcher, he has gone on to lose to Chris Leben (in a fight of the year candidate), Michael Bisping, and Vitor Belfort. Akiyama does have good striking and great judo, but he has holes in his game that get taken advantage of by mid-tier fighters. Shields is better than a mid-tier fighter, he  should be good enough to take the fight down to the ground and outgrapple Sexyama. Not sure if he Shields can actually finish him but he has the skillset to neutralize Akiyama. Even with a loss, I still see the UFC keeping Akiyama around for one more fight.

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