Once more, with feeling.
Former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Jake Shields has returned to the 185-pound division after an unsuccessful fight campaign in the welterweight class, which included a unanimous decision defeat to reigning champion Georges St. Pierre, as well as a knockout loss to aspiring contender Jake Ellenberger.
He's back, but is he better than ever?
Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans were not impressed with his performance when he covered and smothered Ed Herman for three rounds at the UFC 150 pay-per-view (PPV) event earlier this month in Denver. It was the fifth straight win to be decided by the judges' scorecards and Shields hasn't secured a finish in over three years.
A statistic not lost on coach Cesar Gracie.
Check it out.
"I think people have seen some really great fights of Jake’s where he’s tapped people out with one-arm guillotines and stuff from the mount and all these other things he’s done, armlocks and everything, and I think for Jake, he needs to really get back into that, to finishing. We’re not going to change a tiger at this point in the game. We have to [say], ‘Look, Jake. This is what got you here. It’s finishing people. You’re a world-class grappler. Let’s focus on finishing.’ There’s so many great 185-pounders. Jake has already fought Okami. Jake beat Okami. Hopefully they’re going to give him somebody else, is what I’m hoping for, but like I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did want that matchup."
A rematch against Okami might not surprise most people at this point.
For starters, "Thunder" was also a part of the UFC 150 fight card back on Aug. 11, turning in a tepid performance in a technical knockout (TKO) win over Buddy Roberts. And, like Shields, the Japanese juggernaut is not in the discussion when it comes to 185-pound title contenders.
The timing is right.
In addition, they battled to a majority decision when they tangled at Rumble on the Rock (ROTR) 9 over six years ago in Hawaii, where Shields managed to take home the "W" as part of his 15-fight winning streak. Was it close enough to warrant a second go-round?
How about it fight fans, anyone think a better option exists for either fighter at this stage of their respective careers? And how does this rematch affect the divisional standings, if at all?