Jake Shields was recently interviewed by Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show about his fight Saturday night against Yoshihiro Akiyama, live from Japan, on PPV.
“I think this is the correct weight for him,” Shields said of Akiyama's drop to 170 from 185, following three straight losses. “You never know how he’s going to drop the weight, but if he drops it correctly, he’ll be faster and probably in better shape down here. I’m expecting a tough fight. Even though he’s coming off a couple of losses, he’s a great fighter.”
2011 was a year of loss for Jake Shields. Early in the year, he lost his first fight since 2004, in a failed title shot vs GSP. Late in the year he lost via stoppage to Jake Elenberger. And during the summer he lost his father and manager Jack Shields.
“It was really a tough time period with that going on and I had the fight coming up and then losing the fight on top of it,” Shields said. “It was a really tough couple of months for me. I wasn’t feeling good for a couple of months, but I got myself back together. I’ve been training really hard and now I feel great. I’m ready to go out there and bounce back strong in 2012.”
“Of course I’ve been working a lot of standup, but ideally I’d like to get this to the ground at some point,” he said. “I’m going to try to stand with him and try to take him down and submit him. Taking him down is not an easy task. No one’s really taken him down in the UFC yet. He’s got really strong hips. … He’s got great throws and good hands, but I think his missing element is sometimes his submissions.”
“They do have submissions in judo. You can’t get too cocky and be like, ‘Oh, I can leave things out there.’ I think my submissions are certainly better than his, but he is a guy good enough that if you’re stupid and make a mistake, he can catch you.”
A further consideration for Shields is Akiyama's reputation for cheating, perhaps most notoriously for a fight vs. Sakuraba in which he slathered himself in six bottles of slippery lotion; the bout was eventually declared a No Contest. The accusations predate Akiyama's entry into MMA, with multiple complaints about a slippery gi when he competed in Judo. The
“He is a guy that has shown that he’ll cheat any opportunity he gets," said Shields. "But I think the UFC’s pretty good, and hopefully they’ll have good inspectors out there watching him and making sure he doesn’t try to do anything dirty.”
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