“It’s the first guy for a while that I’m going to fight that is really worth the challenge”on challenger Jake Shields.
Pretty big words considering Georges has fought a succession of world class fighters such as Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck and B.J. Penn. So why does he rate him so highly? There is palpable apprehension around St-Pierre’s camp, which is in no small part due to the well noted weapon that Jake possesses in his arsenal. Shields has the Jiu-Jitsu game to beat GSP.
To me, despite this being a fight between two of the most well rounded fighters in the game, it is also a fight that will be won and lost in where the fight takes place. Shields will undoubtedly endeavour to take the fight to the ground where he has a distinct advantage. This is perhaps why Georges has taken this challenge so seriously, when else could you have said an opponent had a distinct advantage over him? That said, I have to predict Georges will try and use anti-wrestling to keep the fight standing where his striking background should give him the edge.
Another massive factor in the fight is the unprecedented crowd size. UFC 129 is set to be the biggest UFC gate in history, with 55,000+ fans set to pack the Rogers Centre, Toronto, Canada. The crowd will be cheering GSP and booing Shields but who will this favour? Will the burden of an expectant crowd bear heavily on Georges’ shoulders? Jake has already claimed that he thrives on both being the underdog as well as being the villain, but he would say that wouldn’t he? Georges has fought in Canada before, beating Matt Serra to reclaim his title and most recently jabbing the life out of Koscheck’s face in his latest title defence.
Many naïve MMA fans have written Jake off, perhaps due to his lacklustre UFC debut against Martin Kampman. But again, maybe that is a tad harsh. Kampman is tough fight for anybody and was a dangerous fight to take for the formerMiddleweight champ. Also the amount of hype around his unveiling must have been an encumbrance. As well as the hype he also had to acclimatise to the new weight class after dropping down from middleweight.
To me I see this fight being a stand up affair and one that GSP will control. It’s tough to call but it’s also hard to imagine GSP getting dominated on the ground. Using anti-wrestling will surely be his key to victory. If Koscheck couldn’t take him down I can’t see how Shields will. But if he does…
Prediction: GSP by TKO R4
provided by AHB (A HUNDRED BATTLES)