UFC 129 Preview: GSP vs Shields

Posted: April 29, 2011 in Local MMA, Marketing, PR, Strikeforce, UFC

After months of waiting, the moment is here.  Typically when I write my previews I focus on one of the undercard fights that I’m more interested in.  On this card I have no shortage of stars to focus on – Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida, Jose Aldo, Ben Henderson, etc.  However, my eyes are firmly glued to our main event.

The title fight between two champions for the UFC welterweight crown.  Georges St. Pierre has now defended his title 5 times since taking the crown from Matt Serra and Jake Shields who left Strikeforce as champion and is currently on a 15 fight winning streak.  The marketing has been phenomenal for this match up.  Unless I missed it, there has been no signs of tainted editing to make one athlete “the bad guy.”  Both are likeable, skilled fighters who have the utmost respect for one another.  The result of that equation should be one of the top fights of 2011.

The Numbers: How do they stack up from a stats standpoint?
There is little here that is going to make you go “oh yeah…that guy is going to absolutely win.”  Both records showcase dominant MMA runs with Shields having a slight edge in terms of how many fights he has participated in.  Folks that talk at a high-level want you to believe this fight is “the Jujitsu guy” vs “The athlete.”  The reality is, these are both well-rounded fighters.  These guys are the elite at welterweight and their records show this.

Jake Shields*
26 – 4 – 1 (WLD)
3 (T)KOs
10 Submissions
13 Decisions

Georges St. Pierre*
21 – 2 – 0 (WLD)
8 (T)Kos
5 Submission
8 Decision

*Stats via Sherdog.com

The outcomes: What is better for the UFC?
This is one of the few fights that truly holds no negative outcome for the UFC.  Should GSP prevail, he is now a 6x defending champion, has showcased why the company has placed so much stock in him as a spokesperson and leaves room for discussion of his elevation to middleweight for a potential showdown with Anderson Silva.  How do you not like this guy? He is all smiles, no drama.

Should Shields “shock” the MMA world and take the title it does a number of things.  First is proves the value in White’s hunt to pull him from Strikeforce before the Zuffa purchase.  Second it only validates why he is in a main event in his second UFC fight to casual fans who haven’t received the memo.  Third, a victory for Shields will mean something unique to the Zuffa CFO.  The purchase of Pride had quite a few bumps before its stars were ready for gold.  Shields would be the first to get passed his UFC jitters and into a championship since Anderson Silva.  Shields is also a multi-weight contender and similar to Dan Henderson could offer the UFC a few different options in terms of future plans.

My Take:
I never cross GSP. I always go with him because he is a class act, a hard worker and despite criticism always goes for the finish.  That said however, this time, I’m going against him.  I think Shields is going to take the crown.  He’s hungry and ready to showcase why he has been at the top in every other organization.  I think Shields will win via submission in the second round.

What about you – Who do you think will win and why?

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Comments
  1. I feel very much the same in regards to the main event. I will never root against GSP because he represents the very best aspects of martial arts and is pure PR gold BUT I would like to see Shields win this Saturday. It would be good because it would open match ups at 170 since GSP has essentially cleaned it out AND prompt GSP to evolve yet again – hopefully at 185 and with or moving towards Anderson Silva.

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