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Shields vs Akiyama: Redemption or the boot

For Shields and Akiyama, UFC 144 represents a chance for redemption but also the chance of losing their job. Before being brought in to the UFC to fight Georges Saint Pierre in Spring last year, Jake Shields was unbeaten in six years. Similarly, Yoshihiro Akiyama was unbeaten in five years before his current three fight skid started with a loss to Chris Leben in 2010. The heavy hands and crafty submissions of Akiyama face off against the American Ju Jutsu of the former Strikeforce champion.

Recent History

  • Jake Shields is on a two fight losing streak, having previously been a dominant champion over in Strikeforce.
  • His most recent loss was a shock early knockout at the hands of Jake Ellenberger.
  • Akiyama has lost three in a row, albeit against stiff competition in Chris Leben, Micheal Bisping and Vitor Belfort.

Styles

Jake Shields makes no secret of his style. He is well and truly a ju jutsu specialist with with a distinguished wrestling background. Until his fight with Ellenberger, it was always assumed he had an unshakable chin too. As well as skills and chin, Shields has indomitable spirit and heart which has helped him push through adversity inside and out of the cage. Shields tends to stay far away from possible from a striking battle and when he is engaged, uses that durability to find a way to a take down.

Yoshihiro Akiyama also has a great chin, albeit recently exposed by Vitor Belfort. He came to the UFC a real fan favorite, with slick submission skills allied to big punches. In the UFC he has failed to shine so far, looking a little cumbersome trying to land big punches against skilled opponents.

via bleacher report

Head to Head

The key to this match up is whether Shields can avoid or survive Akiyama's big right hand. Akiyama has a great Judo background but I still expect Shields to have the advantage in the wrestling and clinch. Shields will want the fight to go to the ground, where he is certainly stronger. That being said, submitting a battle hardened foe like Akiyama will be tricky and we may see some fun scrambles as Shields locks on submissions and Akiyama escapes.

Prediction

Jake Shields decision.

Hit the comment section if I've got it all wrong. Or all right.

More on UFC 144 at jiMMA:

UFC 144: Rampage vs Bader Preview
UFC 144: Lauzon vs Pettis Preview
UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson Preview

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