Guest Column by D.S. Williamson
Jake Shields has quickly made his way up the UFC welterweight division ranks, and why wouldn’t he considering he was a Strikeforce champion. Shields faces the awesome Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight crown as a big underdog in the UFC 129 sportsbook on April 30.
Georges St-Pierre is ranked #1 or #2 in the world, pound for pound, depending on what list fight fans refer to. Jake Shields easily faces the toughest fighter that he’s ever faced in his career. Will Shields be able to end St-Pierre’s seemingly unstoppable march to MMA historical greatness?
UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
When: April 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm EST
Jake Shields +325 vs. Georges St-Pierre -450
Welterweight Championship 5 Rounds
Analysis: Although Jake Shields has turned into a decent striker, he produced 73 strikes against Dan Henderson last April, every MMA fan in the world knows where Jake’s true abilities lie. Shields is a straight ground game fighter. He’s an exceptionally gifted grappler. Jake learned and studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Cesar Gracie. He was also an All-American wrestler and, as to be expected from a tremendously disciplined fighter, Shields never shows up to a fight in anything but in tip-top condition. Jake Shields has an incredible ability to turn his opponent around, in order to gain top position, after his opponent has taken him down. Because of that, Shields never, that’s right 0%, tries to prevent a takedown. Jake Shields will no doubt try and force St-Pierre to the mat where he believes that he’ll have an advantage. There’s a reason for Shields to be the UFC 129 odds underdog in this bout, but a +325 underdog? There’s definitely a debate regarding that.
Analysis: Georges St-Pierre is the best fighter in the world. That’s just my opinion. There are many other MMA fight fans that believe that Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The reason I prefer St-Pierre is because there just doesn’t appear to be any weaknesses. The man has owned the UFC welterweight title since 2007. Since garnering the championship belt by submitting Matt Hughes in Round 2 after out striking Hughes 28 to 3 during the fight, St-Pierre has littered the mat with his opponents winning 6 straight bouts. He’s beaten Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck (for the second time), Dan Hardy, Matt Sera, Thiago Alves and the highly regarded BJ Penn since gaining the title. St-Pierre has as good of a stand-up game as he does a ground game and his chin is unparalleled. He’s the deserving favorite in the main event at UFC 129.
UFC Betting Pick: The biggest knock against St-Pierre is he has trouble “finishing” fights. What it means is that St-Pierre often times coasts to a unanimous decision victory in his bouts.
I have no problem with that as a UFC 129 betting handicapper. From my perspective, a win is a win since the money comes rolling into my online account whether the guy I back in the Octagon wins by knockout or wins by decision. St-Pierre’s greatest strength is that he’s always building upon his repertoire. He dominates in the Octagon, plain and simple, but he’s much more versatile than his opponents including his opponent on April 30, Jake Shields.
Georges St-Pierre has studied boxing under Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach. He’s also an incredibly gifted ground game fighter. What will be interesting is to see is what St-Pierre does on the ground once he takes Shields to the mat. Will St-Pierre immediately bound to his feet? Will he try and prevent Shields from gaining top position even though he knows that gaining top position on the ground is one of Jake’s strengths?
I’m not sure it will matter at the end. Georges St-Pierre is the best fighter, pound for pound, in the world. I see him defeating Jake Shields the way he defeats every one of his opponents, by not making a mistake and sticking to his strategy.
Although the online UFC 129 odds on St-Pierre require an investment, I don’t see how I can go the other way in this bout. I’m backing Georges St-Pierre to beat Jake Shields on Saturday night.
UFC 129 Odds Pick: Georges St-Pierre
(Disclosure: BetUS.com is a paid sponsor of MMAWeekly.com)