by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Despite published reports that Jake Shields will return on Sept. 20 to defend his newly won EliteXC welterweight title against John Alessio, MMAWeekly.com has confirmed with Shields himself that the fight has been offered, but is far from a done deal.
“That fight might happen, but it’s not 100%, not finalized yet,” said Shields in an interview with MMAWeekly.com on Thursday.
The other interesting note to this report is that Shields is currently fielding an offer from an outside promotion to have him compete in a show at 185 pounds against a top contender, but as of now he is still waiting on approval from EliteXC to take the fight.
“Right now I have a really good offer on the table to fight a top 185-pounder,” Shields stated. “I’m just waiting, hoping Elite (XC) will give me that opportunity to go out there and represent Elite and test myself.
“Alessio, he’s a good opponent, (but) it’s a fight that doesn’t really excite me though unfortunately. I’m not too motivated about it, but he’s one dangerous guy that you’ve got to watch out for. He’s a really difficult guy to fight, hard to take down, good stand-up, but if that’s the fight I end up taking, I’ll get myself motivated and pumped up to go do it, but right now I’m really excited about the other fight. I think it’s good for my career and I hope (Elite XC) will realize it too, that it’s not bad for their show, that it helps push me further.”
Coming off the win that crowned him champion in July, Shields also said that the timeline to take the fight against Alessio on Sept. 20 is a little earlier than what he had anticipated for his next fight.
“It’s a little sooner than I wanted. I just started training again. It’s a little bit of a short training cycle, but I guess I’m already in pretty good shape,” he said. “I wanted to have a little bit more time to chill, but also the other fight is a fight I’ve wanted to fight for a while and I think it will be a big fight, so hopefully EliteXC will let me give the opportunity to test myself.”
Shields did not mention the opponent or the other promotion that was vying for his services at this time.
As for Alessio, in his most recent fight he suffered a broken forearm that was described as similar to UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture’s injury following his fight with Gabriel Gonzaga in August 2007. While the injury is reportedly healing as expected, the time for Alessio to train for a title fight only five weeks away may hinder the chances of accepting a fight on Sept. 20.
(UPDATE) In fact, Alessio’s team at Denaro Sports Marketing told MMAWeekly.com that Alessio would definitely not take the fight on Sept. 20. He is more than willing to face Shields, but considering the injury, he just needs a little more time than Sept. 20 allows to prepare for a five-round title bout with Shields.
Alessio and his team are still in talks with EliteXC to make the fight happen at a future date.