As a middleweight, Jake Shields had been nothing short of dominant so after a tough go of it at 170lbs in the UFC, he opted to move back up in weight and test his mettle at UFC 150 against veteran fighter Ed Herman.
With wins over Robbie Lawler, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller and Dan Henderson to his credit, Shields was ready to jump right into the deep end at 185lbs.
Shields was strong in his ground game and control as he put Herman on his back several times in the fight, and in the 2nd round he was looking to finish with a kimura from side control but his opponent ultimately slipped away.
The pace of the fight could only be described as a grind because Shields was obviously feeling the effects of the lacking oxygen in the thin Denver air, and it wore on him as the minutes passed by.
The baffling part of the bout may have been Ed Herman’s strategy to continuously move into the clinch, which gave Shields the opening to grab takedowns and get the fight into his world on the mat.
In the final round, Shields was able to move to mount and showcase his dominant ground work, but again his lacking cardio never allowed him to do much more than gain the position.
When it was over, Shields was the clear cut winner on the scorecards, but he may not have gained much favor with the Denver crowd.
“Fighting middleweight I like, but the altitude definitely forced me to slow my pace down a little bit,” said Shields. “It was a little embarrassing, but I had to slow down a little bit.
“Hopefully next time it won’t be at altitude, I’ll fight at a different level, and I’ll show the fighter I was against Dan Henderson.”
Shields is a great new addition to the middleweight division, but fighting at altitude may not be his best friend at any weight class moving forward.