With up-and-coming fighters like Eddie Alvarez and Paul Daley making big waves, the EliteXC welterweight division needs its first champion now more than ever.
Jake Shields has long deserved a shot at that vacant title and come March 29, he'll wait no longer, according to a recent MySpace message from the Caesar Gracie student.
Here's a snip:
"I'll be fighting Drew Fickett for the EliteXC Welterweight Championship on March 29 in San Jose, [Calif.]"
Shields is considered by most to be a top 10 welterweight in the world. He holds wins over notables such as Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, Dave Menne, Mike Pyle, Yushin Okami and WEC champ Carlos Condit. Shields also tapped top UFC contender Jon Fitch during a grappling match at the 2005 Gracie Open.
He's currently on a nine-fight winning streak and has not lost since December of 2004. For Shields this is a shot at confirming the hype that surrounds him. The exposure that comes along with being the first EliteXC champion will add even more credibility to his name and cement him as one of the world's best at 170 pounds.
Fickett -- who has six career fights in the UFC -- has been around the block, taking on some big names throughout his career. He holds wins over Kenny Florian, Josh Koscheck, Kurt Pellegrino and Josh Neer, among others. He's also fought and lost to Nick Diaz, Karo Parisyan and Josh Burkman.
In short, big fights are not something new for "The Master," but this will certainly be the biggest of his career. At only 28 years old, Fickett still has a chance to do big things in this sport. And winning the first EliteXC welterweight title would be a nice start.
Both of these guys are well versed in the submission game and we're probably in store for a great technical fight. We'll see a lot of scrambling, decent striking and some great jiu jitsu and wrestling. Their styles are so similar and both fighters are so good at capitalizing on their opponents mistakes that this fight will probably be decided by the first mistake made.
Shields will more than likely be the favorite going in, but this is a winable fight for both. It should be fun to watch.
Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock is already putting his belt on the line against Cung Le that same evening. With the addition of the title bout between Shields and Fickett this will be perhaps the biggest event in the history of EliteXC.