UFC 129 results: Georges St. Pierre vs Jake Shields fight review and analysis

Photo via Esther Lin MMA Fighting

Jake Shields may not have come out victorious last night at UFC 129, but based on the reaction of the fans and the media to Georges St. Pierre's performance in the Octagon, he might as well have.

Apparently winning simply isn't enough.

The UFC welterweight champion jabbed and windmilled his way to a unanimous decision victory over Shields, but his streak of winning 30 consecutive rounds is over.

While both men are known for their impressive ground games, all but about 30 seconds of their 25 minute affair was spent standing up.

Surprisingly, Shields was content with standing and banging with the Kyokushin karate black belt for five straight rounds.

That's not to say he didn't make an effort to get the fight to the ground. Check out why he was forced out of his comfort zone after the jump.

GSP's trainer, Firas Zahabi, said that "Georges is the most difficult human being ever to put on his back," before St. Pierre's title fight with Shields. The champ proved him correct just one minute into the fight when Shields caught a leg kick and attempted a deep single-leg takedown. 

"Rush" deftly bounced on leg until he found the comfort of the fence, freed himself and then disengaged. I have a feeling that Shields realized just how pointless it would be to try to take St. Pierre down from that point on and he made a tactical decision to stand and bang.

It appeared St. Pierre took recent criticism of his lack of finishing ability to heart. While the jab was his new weapon at UFC 124, the champion repeatedly threw the overhand right against Jake Shields last night.

As effective as the jab was against Josh Koscheck, the overhand right was equally ineffective against Shields.

What made it worse was that as St. Pierre began missing badly with it, he began exaggerating the punch, throwing it higher and higher until it looked like he was trying to recycle air into pure energy. Chuck Liddell, infamously known for his overhand right, was probably laughing at his feeble attempts cageside. 

The Tristar product was still able to easily win the first three rounds with solid use of his jab, but the tides turned in between the third and fourth rounds.

St. Pierre was having trouble seeing out of his left eye, apparently scratched by a Jake Shields punch or probing jab.

From that point on, the fight was very close. Shields was able to bust GSP's nose with a clean right hand and he was able to repeatedly land a left kick to the body.

With the loss of the ability to see out of his left eye, the champion became very tentative. I never thought I'd see the Toronto crowd booing their hero, but there they were, jeering his performance in the championship rounds. St. Pierre would have lost the fourth if he hadn't connected with a left head kick and he ended up losing the fifth on two judges' scorecards.

How much of his performance was due to the eye injury? We'll have to wait and here from the champ, himself.

St. Pierre takes a lot of heat for fighting "safe" but forcing the Cesar Gracie black belt to stand with him was absolutely the correct idea.

The problem comes when you also fight too safe with your stand-up, especially against a limited striker like Shields. GSP has multiple opportunities to follow up on his beautiful lead jab with something more than that ridiculous overhand right and he simply didn't do it.

What's next for Jake Shields? If he truly wants to defeat Georges St. Pierre, he'll need to work on one of two things: his takedowns or his striking, if not both. 

Shields performed significantly better than Joe Rogan gave him credit for but he still has a long way to go, especially because he spent nearly half that fight against a man with one eye.

Expect a match against another tough welterweight like the Thiago Alves / Rick Story winner or maybe Diego Sanchez if he gets by Matt Hughes.

For GSP, first of all, he needs to get healthy. He tweeted that the doctors believe he'll be ok, but there's no timetable on just how long he'll be out with the eye injury.

Once he gets back to training, he needs to get that killer instinct back. Where is the man who superman punched and head-kicked Matt Hughes to hell? What happened to the ferocious ground and pounder who made BJ Penn quit on his stool?

Maybe he just needs the right opponent and St. Pierre has several options. If Carlos Condit gets by Dong Hyun Kim in July, he'll be a viable contender. There's also word that Strikeforce champion Nick Diaz could vie for the title and UFC President Dana White said it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Don't forget that an opportunity to fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title also looms on the horizon. 

I, for one, believe any of these match-ups would instantly make GSP the most beloved man in the sport again.

What do you think?

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