For he to-day that sheds his blood with me. Shall be my brother.
Henry V, William Shakespeare
Jake Shields puts on his gear, steps into the ring, looks out at a murder's row: Nick Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz, and Daniel Roberts. All five have fights within a three-week span, three of them title bouts.
“We’ve had a really tough two months in our camp. We’ve been out there battling. We’ve been banging so hard and to see my team go out there and do so well, it’s really motivating to know that we’re getting to that level. That we can go out there and beat anyone,” Shields said about his camp recently on MMAWeekly Radio.
“It’s pretty intense,” said Gil Melendez who has his own title fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri in Strikeforce. “Guys are in shape. I’m getting the best Jake right now, I’m getting the best Nick, I’m getting the best Nate, we’re banging with each other. The competition is up and I think we’re raising the bar for each other. It’s probably a good step of evolution for us that we’re all in great shape, and all in great peaks and hanging with each other.”
In addition to his Cesar Gracie team members, Shields also brought in stellar MMA wrestlers Chael Sonnen and Matt Lindland. “Chael Sonnen’s a beast," Sheilds said. "He’s aggressive, he comes forward, and he trains just how he fought Anderson. Come forward and fight and it was great having him for a week. He also brought Matt Lindland along. I learned a lot of clinch work from Matt."
“The thing about Jake Shields is he’s determined,” Melendez said. “He’s determined to win this belt, and he’s been eyeing it for a long time. I also think he wants it more. Also the element of surprise, locking horns with Jake for the first time, it’s like no other. Once they’re in that grappling mode, you’re really going to see how dominant Jake is.”
“It was crazy, I was so shocked. I was a pretty good grappler, but when I went up against (Jake) I was like ‘dang!’ It was brutal,” Roberts commented. “When you roll with Jake, you know he’s going to do something, but there’s really nothing you can do. It’s going to be a long day for St-Pierre.”
“I felt like this training camp’s been the most insane ever,” Shields said. “We always train hard, we always push hard, there’s always someone getting ready. I think with everyone with five fights at once, it brought the whole intensity up because everyone was in shape and we were just beating the crap out of each other.”
For his part, GSP is training primarily in his home of Montreal, but last week made the trip South to the Renzo Gracie Academy in Manhattan.
Renzo Gracie is so good that not one but two UFC World Champions seek him out, at the same time, for instruction in the fine points of submission.
GSP fights Cesar Gracie black belt Jake Shields at UFC 129 on Saturday night in Torontonto. Shields does not have the edge in striking. To any reader disagreeing with this statement, I can only say "Mrs. Shields you have raised an incredible son, a great champion, a role model for us all."
Shields' wrestling pedigree is stronger than GSP's. Shields has had over 600 folkstyle and freestyle wrestling matches; GSP has had none. Shields qulaified for States in folkstyle powerhouse California, and was a two-time Div II All American; GSP never wrestled. However, GSP has better wrestling, many say the best in the sport.
That leaves BJJ, and is the reason GSP is on the mats in Manhattan.
For Jake Shields to win the fight, he has to stay conpetitive in wrestling, avoiding a striking game, getting on top at times, and staying dangerous off his back. What would likely end the fight in Shields' favor is a submission, something his entire team has proved capable of in spectacular fashion.
Or Shields could land a jumping left hook and knock GSP out. You never know in MMA, which is why they have the fight.
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