It’s a fight that Jake Ellenberger has been asking about for almost a year.
On Saturday night in New Orleans he got his wish and it paid off as Ellenberger finished former UFC title contender Jake Shields with strikes in the first round of their main event fight at UFC Fight Night 25.
Ever since Shields signed with the UFC, Ellenberger has been calling for a fight with him. Why? Simply because he thought he could beat him.
“I just never really believed it. Jake Shields is the best middleweight in the world, the best welterweight in the world, like I never believed it,” Ellenberger told MMAWeekly Radio prior to the fight. “He has beat some very tough opponents, but it’s nothing personal against him, he’s probably a great guy. I’m sure we could be friends afterwards, but I was just never sold on him.”
Ellenberger showed no fear facing the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, especially after he shrugged off a takedown attempt and was able to overpower Shields in the clinch in the opening moments of the fight.
Once Shields did engage and get close enough for Ellenberger to get a hold of him, it was the end of the fight.
Ellenberger got the back of Shields’ head and threw two knees. The first went to the body, but the second connected flush to Shields’ face, sending him crashing to the canvas.
Pouncing on Shields, Ellenberger blasted away with a barrage of machine gun like punches that knocked his opponent senseless, and the referee had seen enough and swooped in for the save.
Being aggressive was Ellenberger’s whole strategy and it paid off on Saturday night.
“Just keeping the pressure, that’s the whole strategy coming in here,” Ellenberger commented after the win. “Keeping the pressure on him. Came out with the ‘W’, it feels great.”
With the win, Ellenberger now moves to 5-1 in the UFC, and the win over Shields gives him his most high profile victory to date and surely moves him into the top five of the welterweight division.
“I feel unbelievable,” Ellenberger stated. “Jake Shields is a world champion, I can’t explain how I feel right now, I feel great.”
As for Shields, who took the fight just three weeks after his father Jack passed away, just sounded flustered after being stopped for the first time since his third professional fight back in 2000.
“Just frustrated,” Shields said when asked about his emotions following the fight. “I got hit with a good hit, I went down, I was still trying to fight. I wish we would have got to fight a little more, but it is what it is. It’s ref’s decision, I did want to keep fighting. I thought I had a little fight left, but the ref thought it was time to stop it. Nothing I can do.”
While Shields has nothing to be ashamed of after even deciding to stay in the fight following such a tragedy in his personal life, he does have to rebound now from two straight losses. Meanwhile the welterweight division in the UFC has a new contender and his name is Jake Ellenberger.